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From Multilingual Bookbinding Dictionary
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Welcome to the Multilingual Bookbinding and Conservation Dictionary, a project created by Suzy Morgan, book conservator and Preservation Specialist at ASU Libraries, and Peter Verheyen, creator of the Book Arts Web and the BOOK_ARTS-L listserv. It is an international dictionary of bookbinding and conservation terms, free of use to anyone.

The goal of this project is to combine, in one place, all the known bookbinding and book conservation terminology, in as many languages as possible. We are also including both current and archaic terms, to make the dictionary useful for both practicing conservators and bookbinders, as well as book history scholars. There are already a variety of multilingual dictionaries in existence, but none so comprehensive as what we envision for this project. In essence, we have taken every available multilingual dictionary of bookbinding, conservation or library words, and combined them.

We are not seeking to define these terms, but rather provide a simple tool for translating words that can be used together with other tools such as Google Translate. There a variety of bookbinding dictionaries available that already have rich definitions of these terms - definitions are provided only when similar-sounding terms need to be clarified.

You may notice that some words have different translations (or no translation at all!) according to different dictionaries, which is where we need your help! We are very interested in finding collaborators to help us fill in the gaps in those languages other than English and German, and cross-check existing words in those languages for accuracy.

If you'd like to become a wiki editor and participate in the project, please send an email to Suzy.

Special Note

This site is currently being updated, with data being transferred over from the original Google Drive spreadsheet. Until this task has been completed, the original spreadsheet version of the dictionary is temporarily accessible. Please visit the Google Drive spreadsheet page to access this information.

What is included

Most of the terms from Etherington and Roberts' "Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books". Other terms have also been added from various other dictionaries.

What is not included

Translations and full descriptions of colors, pigments, or chemicals or other common materials can be found elsewhere on CAMEO: Conservation & Art Materials Encyclopedia Online. Most printmaking and typography terms are not included within the scope of this project, at this time.


This project would not be possible without the generous help of Jenny Hille, Sara Rubinow, and Peter Verheyen, who have all helped with providing corrections and suggestions for improvement.

View All Pages

Browse the categories below to view a list of terms in that language.

Other multilingual resources

  • Kneep in Binding (Languages: Dutch, English, French, and German) Kneep en binding is a terminology for the description of constructions of old bookbindings. Kneep en Binding was published in 1992 by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek for the benefit of book historians, codicologists, and book conservators. It offers a systematically ordered selection of terms to aid the study and description of most types of handmade bookbindings from Western Europe up to 1830."
  • The Archives Damage Atlas is an assessment tool for identifying the kinds of damage that afflict archival materials. It is available as a richly-illustrated PDF in both English and Dutch.


A full list of other bookbinding, library, archives, and conservation vocabularies is also available.