– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

conservation survey notes 10

Balliol MS 86 provides three examples of two types of book marker:

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1) A strip of parchment cut from the edge of the page, folded and slotted through a small cut to form a little tab that sticks out beyond the edge of the page – very similar to the standard pendent seal attachment method on title deeds and other administrative documents.

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 above, the verso of 1

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2) two examples of large stitches of coloured thread used as page markers. The question is, were the stitches themselves the marker, or did they once hold something else – a bit of cloth, parchment or paper – to the page? We may find another example that answers this question in another manuscript later. This is becoming quite a pattern – one manuscript will raise a question without providing quite enough evidence to decide on an answer, and then either another particular observation or an average of several similar situations will make the first example clearer when we take another, more experienced, look. Exciting – we are all learning a lot!

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