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Re: [BKARTS] case flush-bottom/eliminate tail squares

"Eliminating the bottom square would help with sag but seems like it raises other issues (beyond the merely aesthetic). Primarily, the square's usefulness in protecting the page edges would be gone, with more scuffing, soiling, etc."

I might want tail squares on a fancy book that might be boxed with text-support anyway, and if re-using the original binding then you must have the original squares as they were usually. And with little light books squares are rarely an issue. But with big books, I sure don't like to use tail squares. At UT-Austin library, library bound materials over a certain width are typically cased in without tail squares. The damage done to the case-to-text attachment of heavier books by gravity mixed with tail squares far outweighs the scuff damage for a research collection, in their opinion. I've seem plenty of books with tail squares where the text has sagged, and the front of the bottom edge of the text is very soiled anyway, so the square only lifts a limited portion of a heavier text for a limited amount of time it seems.

There is some theorizing by Szirmai in his book The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding, on the advent of squares. I think he decided they came about after the invention of the plough. They sure have a lot to answer for...what would we obsess on without them?

Consuela Metzger
Lecturer - Book Conservation
School of Information
The Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station D7000
Austin, TX 78712-0390
(512) 471-8293
(512) 471-8285 (fax)

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