Libraries want to give new books a longer shelf life at lower cost

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From the latest Harry Potter novel to a new reprint of Shakespeare's Macbeth, every new book in the world can now expect to have a longer shelf life, thanks to a new International Standard.

ISO 14416:2003

Published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), ISO 14416:2003, Information and documentation - Requirements for binding of books, periodicals, serials and other paper documents for archive and library use - Methods and materials, offers recommendations to assist libraries and archives to preserve not only books, but any paper publication, from periodicals to serials to archive documents, by means of binding.

Libraries and archives receive books and other paper documents which should remain in good physical condition for as long as their content is worth preserving. Based on their judgement of the likely wear and tear of an item and its expected lifetime, libraries and archives can decide on how each publication ought to be protected.

For example, a publication that is expected to be heavily used over short periods of time but which might not be retained permanently will require a different quality of binding from that for a publication that is expected to receive occasional light use but that may need some protection during storage.

ISO 14416:2003 provides a selection of binding methods and materials to assist libraries and archives on how each book and publication is to be protected.

In addition to promoting appropriate binding qualities, the new standard is designed to help binderies rationalize their production and ensure continuity of supply of binding materials. Binderies, for example, will be able to offer lower prices if they receive larger orders for similar types of work and materials, and libraries and archives will in turn be able to use the most suitable binding more extensively as a protection for their books.

According to Per Cullhed, editor of the new standard, the use of ISO 14416 will not only keep books and other publications in a good physical condition for as long as their content is worth preserving, but will also be instrumental in reducing the prices of binding.

"The benefit of ISO 14416 lies in the formula it provides for agreeing on how books should be bound - which in turn will serve to establish the price and make it easier to inspect the quality on the returned product. While the benefit for the bindery lies in the fact that they know exactly how their customers (libraries and archives) want to have their books bound and, therefore, the standard will allow them to make better calculations on the price of the service."

The new standard is applicable to first-time hard-cover binding of published and unpublished materials, and any other documents requiring this type of protection, as well as the rebinding of hard-cover monographs, serials and any other documents.

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