Scholarly information sharing among book and paper conservators
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Book and paper conservation integrates several disciplines, including traditional handcrafts, hard sciences, and art and book history, each with distinct methodologies and epistemic cultures. In order to examine how book and paper conservators straddle these varied fields and methodologies, a large-scale survey was conducted to investigate information sharing within the field. This examination of both formal publication and informal, lateral communication was inspired by the work of sociologists of science such as Derek J. de Solla Price and Diana Crane, including their concept of invisible colleges. A sample of one hundred book and paper conservators was questioned on methods of information sharing and attitudes towards topics such as publication and peer review. The result shows a field with great respect for formal methods of publication but still largely centered around informal methods of information sharing. Based on the survey results, potential methods of information sharing that may be well suited to the singularities of the field are discussed.