Librarians and library binders are no longer always able to specify the traditional, superior oversewing method for binding library books. This problem emerged due to economic pressures within several related industries resulting in a proliferation of economic, but often inferior, binding technologies. As libraries are only approximately ten to fifteen percent of total publishers' sales, books cannot specifically be made for the library market. In addition, many of the new binding technologies yield books with insufficient inner margin space to prebind or rebind books utilizing the oversewing binding method. And finally, librarians, also faced with tight budgets, must find economic ways to bind library books. This study concentrated on investigating and determining the merits of two alternate binding methods PVA double fanning and cleat-lacing and quantitatively comparing them with oversewing. The binding performance comparison tests were for both openability and strength (internal) properties, two main concerns for the rigors of library use. It was hypothesized that 1) all three binding methods would yield different openability and binding strengths as the methods of fastening pages together work on different principles, 2) the strengths would be significantly influenced by two more main factors, paper and condition, and 3) the interactions of these three main factors (binding method, paper, condition) could significantly vary binding strength. Three different papers were tested: uncoated, dull, and glossy. The three conditions were new, used, and aged. Twenty-seven combinations of books were bound according to Class A, LBI Standard, specifications (except method of affixing pages) for testing. A new precise method of measuring openability was devised for this study called "Openability Photocopy Test." The results, in general, proved that the PVA double fanned books opened better than both the cleat-laced and oversewn books, across all papers tested. The cleat-laced books opened slightly better than the oversewn volumes. Both oversewn and cleat-laced books were more consistent for openability than the PVA double fanned, across all papers. The Martini Page Pull and Flex Tester was used to determine binding strengths by recording the force necessary (pounds per linear inch) to pull single pages out of a binding. The strength test results were analyzed by the statistical method called "analysis of variance." It was found that the critical (statistically significant) factors were the two main factors of binding method and paper but not condition. And it was further determined that the two-way interactions of paper/binding method, paper/condition, and binding method/condition also all vary the binding strengths significantly. The three-way multiple interaction effect, paper/binding method/condition, was not significant. All book combinations tested yielded binding strengths which exceeded 4.0 lbs/in, a rating of "Excellent" by the Library Binding Institute. However, there was great variability above this level (a range of 4.26 to 8.50 lbs/in). In general, the PVA double fanned bindings had the greatest strengths, oversewn second best, and cleat-laced books had the lowest scores. Uncoated paper yielded books with the greatest strengths, dull paper second, and glossy paper gave the least binding strengths. Particular combinations of paper, binding method, and condition (two-way interactions) caused variations in binding strengths so the general conclusions did not always hold true. The results of the openability and strength tests were graphed and categorized in data tables. These graphs and tables can be used as an Optimum Binding Method Index for openability and strength for books of the dimensions and qualities set forth in this study. Librarians and library binders may now make more informed decisions in selecting a proper alternate binding method for a book, cleat-lacing or PVA double fanning.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Department, Program, or Center
School of Media Sciences (CIAS)
Watson, Caroline Frazer, "A performance comparison of oversewn, PVA double fanned, and cleat-laced bindings" (1985). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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