Rare centuries-old book with intricate unfolding plates

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/13/rare-centuries-old-book-with-i.html


Wow! What an amazing book. I’m kind of surprised to see him handling it in that way though. No gloves, and he seems to come close to damaging the folds. Facsimile maybe?

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Yeah, amazing book indeed. I was also surprised about the glovelessness of the demostration, but what really bugged me the most was that he didn’t replace the four inner flaps in their original order on the first page. My eye was twitching!


No gloves, and he keeps pat-pat-patting the page with his fingers. I’m no archivist or anything, but that made me really uncomfortable.

“Sir? Sir? If you could just… Sir, could you stop touching…? You keep touching… You just did it again! Quit touching the—hey, pal! Stop it!”


I seem to remember that gloves are frowned in some archival paper situations because the reduced sensitivity in your fingers makes it easier to make a mistake.

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yeah, that’s what all the guys like to say anyway…


I can never find extra-larges available, so they just wind up breaking.


Gloves are generally not used when handling paper archival materials. Archivists and researchers handles such materials with clean, bare hands.

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He used his fingers to scratch his face 4 seconds into the video. Technically, even if he washed his hands before handing the rare book, I bet we can now find some of his sebum on the pages. Unless of course, he also washed his face right before handling the book. But still.

Even so, his hands were probably far cleaner than most of the hands that have touched it in its lifetime. This is just how paper is handled in archival settings. The danger of mishandling due to loss of sensation far outweighs the risk of chemical damage from skin, if other reasonable practices are followed. Should this guy not have touched his face and then the book? Sure. But that’s not an uncommon sight.

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