An NLS conservator at work
An NLS conservator at work.

At the National Library of Scotland we house a Conservation Unit to apply remedial treatment to the more important parts of our collections.

A team of conservators specialises in:

  • Paper repair
  • Vellum and parchment repair
  • De-acidification
  • Re-sewing of volumes in original format
  • Photographic conservation
  • Binding repair
  • Gold finishing
  • Box making.

Careful treatment

The Conservation Unit considers very carefully the treatment of original materials from the Library's collections, in consultation with senior curatorial staff.


The conservators undertake condition surveys of the Library’s collections, using the Preservation Assessment Survey and other survey methodologies. This helps to identify priorities for treatment.

Code of ethics

Conservators are guided by an international code of ethics and working procedures. These place great emphasis on:

  • Minimum intervention
  • The use of researched and accepted methods and techniques
  • The use of archival materials
  • Documentation of all treatments undertaken.


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