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University Libraries | Libraries & Departments | PreservationAssessment Manual


Preservation Department 



Conservation Needs Assessment Project





(SF1-Paper Based Items)

Accepted terms summary



  1. Read the Comments and Notes after each box for instructions on how to complete the box.
  2. Click on any underlined and highlighted word or term to find its definition.
  3. Some of the responses require a specific action under part C. What Needs to Be Done.   Others require more information.  These are displayed in Red type.  Click on the symbol (v)  following the term for more information.


SURVEY FORM-PAPER BASED ITEMS                          Attach Barcode Here.


Collection:  ___________            Date completed:  _________________   

Assessor:  ________________                                       DATA ENTRY COMPLETE?   ___

COMMENT: complete the above box with the 3 letter code for the location being surveyed, today’s date, and your initials.


CHECK ALL THAT APPLY unless otherwise specified

¨  Paper or other things found in item that don’t belong to item

¨  Damaged by poor shelving

¨  Poorly shelved – no direct damage

COMMENT:  Items with shelving problems will contain a Shelving Problems form.  Items with extraneous paper/items might contain a Shelving Problems item.



Year Published

COMMENT:  Enter the year of publication for all items – monographs, serials, other.  If an item shows more than one year, enter the earliest date (for instance: Vol 32  1999/2000.  Enter 1999)


A. What is it? General Description.


A.1. TYPE (pick one):


¨  Book

¨  Pamphlet (single signature)

¨  Unbound paper

¨  Other – Paper based v


COMMENTS: Check only one box for question A.1.Type.


A.2.COVER (pick one – plus “Special Cover” if applicable):


¨  Rigid Board – cloth

¨  Rigid Board – paper 

¨  Rigid Board - buckram 

¨  Rigid Board – Leather

¨  Paperback


    ¨  No Cover

¨  Econo-bind or Lamijack

¨  Pam bound

¨  Thermal Bound

¨  N/A-unbound

¨  Other – specify  ________ v


¨  Special Cover

COMMENTS: Check only one box for question A.2. Cover. 

EXCEPTION:  If the cover is a “Special Cover” check that box and check a box that describes the construction of the cover.

NOTE: If the cover is constructed of more than one material, select the material that covers the book’s joint.  EXCEPTION: Side-stapled items rebound with old “pam board” (marbled greenish or brown pattern with cloth or light buckram spine cover).  These are classed as paper, not buckram or cloth.





¨  Box – paper board

¨  Box – rigid board w/buckram

¨  Slip case

¨  Portfolio W/flaps

¨  Portfolio - flapless

¨  Dust Cover

¨  Local box - manila

¨  Special Enclosure

¨  Princeton

¨  Other – specify _________ v

COMMENTS: Most of the time you will check only one box for question A.3. Additional Protective Covering.  It is possible that a book will have more than one protective covering.  For example, a book with a slip case might also be enclosed in a box.  Check all that apply.   However, if you select “none,”  you cannot check other boxes.


A.4. TYPE OF PAPER (pick one):


¨  Acidic – Non-coated paper

¨  Non-acidic – Non-coated 


¨  Coated

¨  Newspaper

¨  Onion skin

¨  Multiple paper types – acidic

       (describe) v

¨  Multiple paper types – none acidic

       (describe) v

¨  Other – specify ____________v

COMMENT: Only one box should be checked. 

NOTE: In most cases, the book’s paper will be either non-coated or coated.  If it is non-coated, use the pH testing pen to determine whether the paper is acidic.  Sometimes the publisher’s comments, description of the book, or the copyright page will state that the paper is non-acidic.  In that case, you do not need to test the paper. 

NOTE: If only a few pages of illustrations are coated paper and the rest of the book is non-coated, select non-coated.  If there is extensive mixing of papers, read the definition of “Multiple paper types.” If the book fits the description, check the appropriate box and describe the types of paper in Section D.


A.5. LEAF ATTACHMENT (pick one):


Adhesive -¨  Double fan adhesive

                 ¨  Other - adhesive

Sewn - ¨  Signature -STF

           ¨  Other – sewn

¨  Side Stapled

¨  Spiral bound

¨  Loose-leaf notebook

¨  Pam bound  - Stapled or sewn

¨  Pam bound  - Taped

¨  Unbound pages

¨  Other – specify ________v

COMMENT: Check just one box.  If you are not sure (sometimes it is hard to tell how the pages are attached) check with your supervisor.

NOTE: Be particularly careful with pamphlets.  The presence of staples does not automatically mean it is “Pam bound – Stapled or sewn.”  That term applies only when staples or thread are the primary or only method of attaching the pamphlet to the binder.  Click here to review the definitions for types of pam binding.





¨  Paper item(s)

¨  CD or DVD  v

¨  Diskette  v

¨  Audio Cassette  v

¨  Video Cassette  v

¨  Foldouts, centerfolds

¨  Photos or illustrations (glued or taped)

¨  Special Endsheets


¨  Other – specify ____________ v

COMMENT: An item might have more than one type of inclusion.  If so, check all that apply.  For example, a book might have a CD in a pocket and another pocket with the instructions for the CD.  If the inclusions are sufficiently thick that they are damaging the book, make a note of this and keep it in mind when you complete Sections B & C.  If you select “none,” no other responses can be selected.



¨  None evident


¨  Rebound – Heckman

¨  Rebound – Houchen

¨  Rebound - Other

¨  Pam Bound – in house

¨  Book Repair – in house

¨  Brittle book review – Boxed or archival photocopy

¨  Patron

¨  Other – specify ______ __   v

COMMENT: Check all that apply.  More than one preservation action may have been taken.  For instance, it is possible that book was rebound and later needed minor repairs.  However, if you select “none evident,” no other responses can be selected.


B. What is item’s condition?




¨   Good

¨   N/A-unbound pages

¨   Spine loose, detached, 

       or damaged  v

¨   Boards loose or detached v

¨   Worn

¨   Dirty

        ¨  No Cover

¨   Acidic (pam , paper)

¨   Damage from light  v

¨   Bug damage

¨   Animal damage

¨   Mold  v

¨   Water damaged

¨   Other – specify ___________v

COMMENT: Check all that apply.  However, if you select “good,” no other condition can be selected.



¨   NONE


¨   Good

¨   Acidic  v

¨   Damaged

¨   Bad fit  v

¨   Other – specify ______________ v

COMMENT: Check all that apply.    However, if you select “none” or “good,” no other condition can be selected.

NOTE: If there is no protective cover or enclosure, check “none.”


B.3. PAPER FLEXIBILITY (pick one):


¨   Paper flexible and in good condition

¨   Paper nearly brittle

¨   Paper too brittle for commercial binding v

COMMENT: Check only one box. 


B.4. LEAF (page) ATTACHMENT (pick one):


¨   Intact

¨   Pages loose or detached v

¨   Pages missing  v

¨   Unbound-intact

¨   Unbound-missing  v



COMMENT: Check only one box. 

This question refers to the effectiveness of the method of leaf attachment or the quality of workmanship involved.  If pages are loose or missing because of patron actions (mutilation, torn out) but pages are otherwise still attached to the text block, then select “intact” and record the mutilation under page condition.




Margins (pick one):

¨   Adequate to rebind

¨   Inadequate to  rebind v

Text Block attachment:

¨   Good

    ¨   Shaken Hinges  v

    ¨   Broken text block (interior) v

    ¨   Broken hinge (pastedown/flyleaf) v

    ¨   Damaged hinge  v

¨   Other – specify _________v

COMMENT: Check only one box to describe the margins.  More than one response might be appropriate to describe the Text Block attachment, so you can check more than one.  However, if you select “good,” the other conditions cannot be selected.





¨   Good

¨   Pages – mild damage

¨   Pages – heavy damage  v

¨   Pages mutilated or cut out v

¨   Pages stuck together  v

¨   Water damaged

¨   Grubby

¨   Pages Uncut v

¨   Unbound-folded  v

¨   Bug damage

¨   Animal damage

¨   Mold v

¨   Foxing

¨   Print burns

¨   Other – specify ________v

COMMENT: Check all that apply.   However, if you select “good,” no other condition can be selected.




¨   NONE


¨   Good

¨   Damaged v

¨   Missing v

¨   Needs pocket v

¨   Other – specify _________________v

COMMENT: Check all that apply.    However, if you select “none” or “good,” no other condition can be selected. 

NOTE: If there are no attachments or inclusions, check “none.”




¨   Not Applicable


¨   Library environment

¨   Patron

¨   Normal wear and tear

¨   Poor original design or workmanship

¨   Previous preservation actions (ours or others)

                                                       ¨   Size

¨   Processing damage:   ¨ TT   ¨ BC    ¨Other 

¨   Other –specify______________  v

¨   Unknown

COMMENT: Check all that apply.    However, if you select “Not Applicable,” no other condition can be selected.  NOTE: If you have not  found any damage or wear (e.g. all conditions = “good” or “none,”  then check “Not Applicable.”


C. What needs to be done?


¨   C. 1. Little to no damage.

COMMENT: Check this box if little or no damage exists.  As a rule, this “Little to no damage” is appropriate for items that have only minor damage, if any. 


Review Section B for any conditions that require specific action (in red type) and click on the v  for more information. 


A book with the conditions listed below might still qualify for “Little to no damage” – depending on the other aspects of the book’s condition.  Consider the overall condition before you select this option.

          Attachments or Inclusions is “none” or “good

Cover Condition is “good,” or “worn,” or shows “damage from light

          Leaf Attachment  is “intact

Page Conditon is “good,” “mild damage,” “water damage” (if the damage is minor), or “foxing.”

Paper Flexibility is “flexible and in good condition.”  If the Paper flexibility is “nearly brittle” and the book is otherwise sound (minor wear and tear) it qualifies for this option. 

Protective Cover or Enclosure condition: “none” or good.”

Text block Condition.  If the Text Block attachment is “good,” you may select this option. 

Text block Condition.  Margin condition is not relevant when the book is otherwise sound.  It may be a factor in your decision to select “Moderate Damage” or “Significant Damage” (below). 


¨   C.2. Moderate damage – Action needed.


¨   Thermal bind

¨   Pam bind

¨   Level 1 Book Repair (see list)

¨   Level 2 Book Repair (see list)


¨   Recase – new cover

¨   Recase – use original cover

¨   Rebind



Check all of the actions in the left-hand column that might be appropriate.  E.g. it is possible to check Pam bind and/or a Book Repair option. 

Some options are mutually exclusive: Pam Bind cannot  be combined with  Thermal Bind.  Level 1 Book Repair cannot be combined with Level 2 Book Repair. 

STAFF will complete the Recase/Rebind column.

Review Section B for any conditions that require specific action (in red type) and click on the v  for more information. 

Types of book repairs that can be included as moderate damage:

Thermal bind – select this if the item already is thermal bound and the binding is significantly damaged (broken text block, stuff falling out, and so on).  It might also be an option for loose leaf/unbound items that are in good condition and less that 2 inches thick.

Pam bind – select this if the item is not pam bound at  all or if it already is pam bound and the binding is significantly damaged (text block is loose, staples coming out, thread is broken, hinged are damaged, adhesive is dried out on pam bound with tape items, and so on.)

Level 1 Book Repair (15 minutes or less): 

Page repair (up to 10 pages)

Tip-in (up to 5 non-contiguous pages)

Hinge mend glue front and/or back hinges.  (this is Level 2 if the hinges also need tape)

Hinge mend tape front and/or back hinges.  (this is Level 2 if the hinges also need glue)

Spine repair -  with tape

Mend 1 text block break

Clean cover

Make or attach pocket for inclusion(s)

Erase a few pages of pencil marking,

Remove a few post-its

Cut open a few uncut pages

Level 2 Book Repair (More than 15 minutes but less than 2 hours): 

2 or more Level 1 repairs on the same item.  (does not refer to  books that only need Hinge mend with glue or tape – if both front and back need repair, it is still a level 1 repair.)

Page repair (10 pages or more)

Page replacement, replace inclusion, missing pages, or mutilated pages. Page replacement involves Inter-Library Loan, photocopying and trimming replacement pages.  It also includes tip-ins – see below.  If there are more than 5 pages with color or illustrations OR more than 20 text only pages to be replaced, the item should be C.3. Significant Damage - Referred.      

Tip-in (6 to 10 non- contiguous pages)

Hinge mend (needs both tape and glue)

Other mends that will take 16 minutes to 2 hours.      

Mend 2-3 text block breaks (but if the threads are broken as well, refer the item.)

erasing many pages of pencil marking

cutting open all uncut pages in a large book

removing a kazillion post-its


¨   C.3. Refer for Secondary Review.

COMMENT: If you select this option, you must also start the  REFERRED PAPER BASED ITEMS form (SF1-referred) and keep it with the item.  Fill in the collection and C.3.  Staff will complete the rest of the form. 

When should something be referred?

    4 Refer all brittle items

    4 Refer all flexible or nearly brittle items with significant damage – advanced repair or preservation actions needed.  E.g., when Book repairs add up to 3 (including flexible).  For instance, shaken hinges (level 1) plus broken text block (level 1) plus damaged spine (level 1), the levels add up to 3 and the item becomes a referral.

    4 Refer all books that need repairs not included in the list of “moderate” damage (above).

    4 Refer any item that, in your opinion needs to be seen by staff.  It might qualify as C.2 – but it’s a little too cheesy, fragile, etc. When in doubt, refer it..  We can always change it back to a C.2. 

     4 Review Section B for any conditions that require specific  action (in red type) and click on the v for more information.  Some conditions will require that that the book be referred for Secondary Review.



D.  Notes or comments.


Use this space to write down any comments or questions. 

This is a good spot to record anything that strikes

you as unusual about the book you are assessing.




Policy and General Preservation Information
Pat Morris, 303-492-3849
Contact me for general information or questions about our policies.


Questions or problems with the Conservation Needs Assessment Manual:

Christine De Vries, 303-492-8122











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