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Japanese bibliography 書誌学: Handling 資料の取り扱い

Books and historical documents held in the Beinecke Library are very valuable cultural assets that exist only in several places in the world or only here. It is our responsibility to preserve these resources for future generations, so please read and handle them carefully.


General precautions for reading


  • Remove metal items (rings, wrist watch, etc.) on hands so as not to damage the materials.
  • Wash your hands if they are specifically dirty (you just ate, you came from art class, etc), so as not to damage the document with sebum or dirt adhering to your hands
  • When handling historical materials, be careful not to touch parts of paintings and letters directly with hands.
  • When putting a paperweight on a document for taking photos or transcribing, place it so that it does not overlie the texts or images.


  • 史料を傷つけることがないよう、手につけている金属品(指輪・腕時計など)は取り外す。
  • 手に付着した皮脂や汚れで文書を傷めないように、事前に手を洗っておく。
  • 史料を扱う際は、絵画や文字の部分を直接手で触れないように気をつける。
  • 開いた書籍や史料のうえに、別の史料や物品を置かない。撮影や筆写のため文書の上に文鎮を乗せる際は、なるべく史料の文字や絵画の上にかからないように置く。

1) Ancient and medieval documents and furniture 古代・中世文書および調度品

e.g. YAJ 7b1 Hyakumantō darani  百万塔陀羅尼

  • Depending on the state of historical materials, glove use is desirable as to protect the cultural artifacts.
  • 史料の状態にもよるが、文化財として貴重なものなので手袋使用が望ましい。

2) Single piece / folding document 一枚物・畳物

e.g YAJ Ac4 Kōfukuji Monjo 興福寺文書

    / EAL J1748 Ōmi no Kuni ezu 近江国絵図

  • When reading folded documents, spread them carefully while checking the shape and folding method so as not to mistake the original folding method. After finishing viewing the document, fold it according to the original manner.
  • When dealing with large folding materials, please fold with the assistance of two or more people because it is too difficult to equally hold historical materials when folding alone which could risk damaging the documents.
  • たたまれた史料を広げる際、元の折り方を間違えないよう、形状や折り方を確認しながら丁寧に広げる。見終わった後は元の折り方の通りにたたむ。
  • ひとりだけで大きい畳物を扱うと、折りたたみの際に史料を均等に持つことができず、傷める恐れがある。二人以上で折りたたむほうがよい。

3) Books 冊物

e.g.Japanese Mss C22 Narasaki-ke kiroku 楢崎家記録

  • Pay attention to the handling of binding points such as gluing parts and binding threads. Do not apply unnecessary force to the binding when reading or photographing historical materials.
  • When opening the page, open lightly by pinching and do not bend the paper with your thumb.
  • Open materials that have weakened paper, such as those damaged by insect bites, with care. Do not open materials forcibly because there is a risk of damaging the historical material. Later tell the staff member about the damaged historical material and its place.
  • 綴じ糸・糊付け部分の取扱いに十分注意する。史料の閲覧・撮影の際、綴じ目へ余計な力をかけない。
  • ページを開くときは紙を親指でたわませず、軽くつまんで開く。
  • 虫損しているものなど、紙が弱くなっている史料は十分に注意して開く。無理に開くと史料を破損する恐れがある場合は開かない。あとで所員に痛んだ史料とその箇所を伝える。

4) Scrolls 巻物

e.g.YAJ 9a5 Nikkō Tōshōgū sairei emaki 日光東照宮祭礼絵巻

  • When viewing scrolls, bundle winding strings and place it up with the cover part lightly, then expand it to the shoulder width. Avoid winding straps in the cover so as not to hurt historical materials. When viewing the rest of the scroll, take the lightly wrapped part, hold it with both hands and extend a little from the desk, then expand it again to the shoulder width to view. Do not spread like scraping scrolls on a desk.
  • After finishing reading the scroll, do not roll it tightly. Roll up naturally while arranging edges. Avoid winding too tightly because it leads to letters and paintings starting to peel. The winding string winds so that the strings do not overlap.
  • 巻物を見る際は巻き紐を結ってまとめ、表紙の部分を軽く巻き取り、肩幅程度に広げながら見る。続きを見るときは読み終わった部分を軽く巻きとり、両手に持って少し机から浮かせながら、ふたたび肩幅程度に広げて見る。机の上で巻物を擦るような広げ方・巻き方は慎む。
  • 読み終わった後、巻物を巻き戻す際はきつく巻かず、小口を整えながら自然のままに巻く。きつく巻きすぎると文書の痛みや文字・絵画の剥落につながるので避ける。巻き紐は紐が重ならないように巻く。

5) Folding book 折本

e.g.YAJ 5b0 Tekagamijō 手鑑帖 / YAJ 1.1 Rekidai goshinʼei 歴代御宸影

  • Expand slowly when widening general folding such as scriptures. Be careful in handling folds so that cracks cannot be made.
  • When dealing with large folding books using heavy paper such as tekagamijō, place it on the desk and take the edge of the binding and open one page at a time so as not to touch the books. Also, to prevent the creases from being distressed, use a base to adjust the open surfaces to be parallel while watching.
  • Avoid touching the painted parts of picture books (gajōsō), and instead open the pages by inserting your finger on the back side of the screen binding form.
  • 経典類など、一般的な折本を広げる際はゆっくりと広げる。裂け目ができないよう、折り目の取り扱いには十分注意すること。
  • 手鑑帖など厚手の紙を使った大型の折本を扱う場合、机の上に置き、書画本紙に触れないよう装丁の端をとって1ページずつ開く。また折り目に負担をかけないように、置き台を使って開いた面が平行になるよう調整しながら見る。
  • 画帖装のものは画面の隅を触ることは避け、袋綴じ状になった画面の裏側に指を差し込んで開く。

appendix 付則

If you were in a library in Japan, researchers and staff might also follow these guidelines. They are optional at Beinecke, but following them shows respect for the expectations and practices of the people who created the documents.


  • Avoid talking and breathing onto historical materials while they are open. When speaking, cover the mouth with a tissue or hand so as not to let saliva particles harm the document.
  • Do not place objects directly on the desk—browse on neutral paper or clean cloth.
  • 史料を開けたままで話をしたり息を吹きかけたりすることは避ける。もし話す際は口をティッシュか手で覆うなど、唾液が飛ばないように配慮すること。
  • 史料を机の上に直置きせず、中性紙か清潔な布の上において閲覧する。