Bookbindings Working Group
CERL wishes to foster collaboration between book binding projects, and encourage the use of standards across these project. It would be desirable to achieve a common access point for information about book bindings, and CERL would wish to play a role in achieving this goal.
- Bring together information about book binding projects in Europe and beyond, and liaise with these projects
- Inform book binding projects about the work of CERL
- Review whether and how, CERL can play a role in these book binding projects
- Promote a standard including both a simple and an advanced description of bookbindings to facilitate for libraries wishing to publish digital images and/or catalogue entries of bookbindings.
- Chair: Per Cullhed, Universitetsbiblioteket, Uppsala
- Ivan Boserup, Kongelige Biblioteket, Copenhagen
- Marianna Czapnik, University Library, Warsaw
- Elisa di Renzo, Museo Galileo, Florence (for Regione Toscana)
- Anne Eidsfeldt, National Library of Norway, Oslo
- Maria Fredericks, The Morgan Library, New York
- Andrew Honey, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
- Thomas Klaus Jacob, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
- Fabienne Le Bars, Bibliothèque nationale de France
- Marian Lefferts, CERL Executive Manager
- Frederic Lemmers, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bibliothèque royale, Brussels
- Timoty Leonardi, The Fondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare, Vercelli
- Philippa Marks, The British Library, London
- Rens Top, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague
- Bettina Wagner, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich
- Lieve Watteeuw, researcher at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven
- Andreas Wittenberg, Staatsbibliothek, Berlin
- Non-CERL: María-Luisa López-Vidriero, Real Biblioteca, Madrid
- Non-CERL: Nicholas Pickwoad, Ligatus, London
- Non-CERL: Isabelle de Conihout, Christie's, Paris
Members please click here for details of meetings, documents, etc.
ibookbinding.com (includes instructions re methodology)
Subject index to the binding collection of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München comprising names of binders and workshops, provenances, styles and technical aspects, arranged in alphabetical order)
Mediaeval treasure bindings and Tibetan book covers (DFG-funded project for development of a descriptive standard and online presentation system)
For bindings on digitized medieval manuscripts, see
Bindings of incunabula are described in BSB-Ink online, (search field “Einband” by place of binding or workshop and “EBDB-number” for id of workshop)
Einbanddatenbank Database for blind-tooled bindings (mainly German)
Einbandforschungs-Wiki Publishers bindings
VerlagsEinbandDatenbank UB der Freien Universität Berlin Publishers bindings, completed
Special bindings on books printed 1500-1550 (Special Collections, University of Amsterdam)
De Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Libraries of the Netherlands has published selections of its bookbindings here, here, and in Wikimedia. Excellent pages describing typical Dutch bindings may be found here. And good pages about non-Dutch bindings are here.
Marike van Roon, University of Amsterdam, started this Facebook page on Embroidered Bindings
IBIS Base de datos del patrimonio bibliográfico de Patrimonio Nacional
Encuadernaciones de la Real Biblioteca, Madrid
Spanish Archival Bindings, 1300-1800 (research by Holly Robertson (University of Texas at Austin) at the Archives of Vilassar de Dalt, Spain)
- United Kingdom
British Library Database of Bookbindings with information on embroidered bindings and
British Library book bindings on Wikimedia
British Armorial Database
Bodley's Luna service
British Bookbindings: 16th - 19th Century (created after an exhibition at the Hunterian Library, University of Glasgow)
St John's College, Cambridge
Scottish Decorative Bookbinding
Royal English Bookbindings by Cyril Davenport (1896)
Bookbindings from the Gilded Age
University of Manchester Image Library (including John Rylands bookbindings collection)
British Book Trade Index
Exeter Working Papers on Book History
National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the General Catalogue contains details of their bindings
Hewit’s has links to binding sites in the UK and world wide and also ‘Skin Deep’ an ejournal of articles.
- North America
Folger Bindings Image Collection
German Decorative Trade Bindings from the collections of the University of Wisconsin-Madison libraries
Gold-stamped publishers' bindigs of the 19th century (created after an exhibition in Kempner Gallery, Columbia University)
George Town University Library with Monastic bindings here
the Fine Art of British Bookbinding (exhibition at the Lilly Library, University of Indiana, featuring bindings commissioned in 1972 from artists and craftspeople in Great Britain).
Hand Bookbindings from Special Collections in the Princeton University Library
W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library, Queen's University
Victorian Bookbinding, Innovation and Extravangance 1820-1910 (exhibition at University of North Texas Libraries)
Publishers' Bindings Online, 1815-1930 (University of Alabama)
Publishers'Bindings, 1830-1910 (Rare Book and Special Collections, University of Rochester)
Historic book formats
Ligatus (www.ligatus.org.uk) is proud to announce the launch of the Language of Binding online thesaurus of bookbinding terms, which was celebrated with a one-day event in the Chelsea College of Arts(University of the Arts London) in collaboration with CERL on 23 June, 2015.
Ligatus is a research centre of the University of the Arts London with projects in libraries and archives and with a particular interest in historic bookbinding. The Language of Binding thesaurus is the result of our long experience with historic bookbindings, but has been greatly assisted by contributions from an international group of bookbinding experts and book conservators. This work was made possible by a Networking Grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK.
The aim of the thesaurus is to present a consistent vocabulary for the use of all those who work with early bindings, built wherever possible on existing resources, but adapted for use in an on-line hierarchical environment that will allow terms that are not known to a user to be found. It is constructed around concepts (such as different bookbinding components, features, materials or techniques) that can be expressed by a number of language terms (labels). The thesaurus allows one concept to have more than one label, which allows the same concept to be searched for by the different terms that may have been used historically to describe it. It will also allow the concepts to be expressed in different languages.
The Language of Binding thesaurus can be used as a reference online resource that can be searched by keyword or alphabetically. The concepts contained in the thesaurus are, however, also arranged hierarchically, based on a class/sub-class relationship, which allows concepts to be retrieved by navigating down the hierarchies even if their label (the term) is not known. It is hoped that the thesaurus will enable all those who work with books in early bindings to arrive at more consistent descriptions of those bindings. By being based primarily on single concepts, it has tried to avoid the more familiar but sometimes frustratingly imprecise language that has often been used in the past. This means that some of these familiar terms will not be found as labels, though they may be referred to in the scope notes that define and describe the concepts (and can therefore be found by a simple keyword search).
At the moment, the thesaurus contains labels primarily in English, but work on its translation has already started, and plans for the addition of illustrations are also underway. The thesaurus can, in addition, be used as a look-up service for software applications that need to populate schema fields from thesauri.
An accompanying (richly illustrated) volume, Coming to Terms: guidelines for the description of historical bindings, which is based on the terms in the thesaurus, is to be published in the autumn. The success of the thesaurus will to a large extent depend on contributions made to it by its users, either to add more concepts, refine existing scope notes or correct mistakes. Such contributions to the thesaurus will be welcomed, and can be made online following a registration process. The thesaurus can be accessed at: http://www.ligatus.org.uk/lob