• Questo glossario non ha pretesa di essere nè completo nè esaustivo. Vuole solo essere di supporto a chi si accosta per le prime volte al mondo del libro ed ha necessità di tradurre alcuni termini.


Erasure obtained by scraping text from writing medium (the paper).


Book or manuscript lacking first few sheets (title page, frontispiece, frontispiece, blank papers).

Acquaforte (incisone all')

Drawing obtained on metal plate (zinc, copper, steel) etched by means of an acid mordant. The plate is covered with a film of protective varnish. It is on this film that the drawing is made with a steel point. In this way the only grooves thus drawn will be attacked by the acid and will receive the ink when it undergoes the pressure of the press, an operation that will take place after the plate has been cleaned of the varnish.

Translated with DeepL


Engraving analogous to etching. In artistic terminology: the process is similar to that used in etching with the difference being that the plate is covered with a layer of Greek pitch or ground bitumen granules; with this process, the acid erodes the plate producing a graining that when printed produces half tones, shading and glazing.


Text on the life of a Saint, or even a Blessed.


Said of any process by which the original can be faithfully reprinted.


Manuscript received by us without indication of either title or author.


In the binding of a volume are the tips of the plates of a volume cover, they are used to enrich the artistic elegance of leather or vellum bindings.


Text containing that part of the sacred liturgy that is sung during religious services.


It is commonly understood to be the page preceding the title page.


Said text falsely attributed author.

Arrossatura o foxing

Set of rust-colored stains on paper caused by the action of microorganisms or the oxidation of metal ions.


Hole of the clip or rib to attach to the button attached to the opposite plate.


Case means the book-shaped container open at one of the four sides.


Handwritten by the author of the text.

Barba o barbe

Inequality of book cuts, with pages, intentionally, not trimmed.


Sheepskin or sheepskin that is carefully tanned and used in bookbinding to imitate parchment, leather, morocco; it is also used to create the small labels that are applied to the spine of volumes with gilded titles.


Technique of systematic description and cataloging of books.


Tape or binder attached to the cover plates to allow the opening and closing of a volume.

Brossura o brochure

Plain paper cover directly glued to the spine of the volume.


Small steel tool with a sharp point for engraving metals. In this process, the engraver directly carves the metal plate without the use of acids and etchants.


Process of printing by means of copper wire-engraved dies.


Lanyard attached to the ends of the back, head and foot, to reinforce it.


Initial (see entry) of a chapter and paragraph. The derivation of the term capitals originates from illuminated codices, where the capitals, normally referred to as "initial," were decorated by hand.


Thin , flexible sheet, suitable for various uses, which is obtained by macerating and reducing fibrous substances into a wet paste. In the bibliographic, book and typographic fields it stands for the sheet, that is, the recto and verso sides. With book production, numerous types of fine paper have spread over the centuries such as: handmade for fine editions; of Japan: paper of very solid workmanship and manufactured from local plants (gampi and mitsumata), the coloring ranges from ivory to grayish, it is reserved for fine editions and restoration; Fabriano: the city of Fabriano was the first place of paper production in Italy in 1276, such paper is of high quality , and is made from first-grade pulp glued with gelatin; Holland: paper composed of quality rags, is used for luxury editions; Patinata: paper coated with a patina that allows for a flat and smooth surface, and almost always glossy. Vellum, Parchment: a paper quality similar to natural parchment is obtained by chemical process.

Translated with DeepL


Book that has a cardboard cover.


Internal attachment between the plates and the volume.


Volume printed in the 16th century.


Series of works with common characteristics, published in the same typeface by the same publisher.


Annotation placed at the end of a volume, in which the author, title of the work, place and date of publication are indicated. Until the beginning of the 16th century, printed volumes did not carry a title page, and full notes were located precisely at C. Still in use today for every printed publication.

Collazione - collazionare

Operation to detect the physical or material aspects of the printed book: format, pages, etc.


Back reinforcement.


Decorative frieze framing some pages of manuscript or printed books; may be open or whole according to the number of sides occupied.



Coperta o copertina

Part of the binding that covers plates and spine.

Costola o Spigolo

It is the outer junction between the plates and the back.


Color lithography is obtained by superimposing images traced in different colors and on different matrix on a single sheet in order to obtain color gradients.


Year of publication of the volume.


Denotes the ornamentation found on the plates and particularly at the outer edges of the cover.

Dispensa o fascicolo

Numbers of a publication.


Strip joining the two plates of a book cover.


Copy of a printed document. A number of specific definitions are implied by the term specimen, including: con Barbe (see entry for barbs; e. infinestrato: restored specimen with paper reinforcements at the outer margins of the sheets;e. interleaved: specimen where two blank papers have been inserted between two printed sheets;e. intact: specimen still unreflected at the margin, thus specimen never used for study or reading;e. marginal: specimen that has wide white margins around the printed text;e. membranous: specimen written or printed on parchment.


Reproduction of a public act or document already published in journals or collections.


Note inscription or tag pasted inside front cover or on title page, indicating owner's name or initials, often with friezes and mottos.


Imitation or exact copy, impressed or engraved, of writing, or normally reproducing an original. Unlike the anastatic, the facsimile can use all colors thus reproducing even important illuminated manuscripts.

Fascetta editoriale

The strip of paper that in modern editions can be found above the cover, with various indications of a book's contents, awards won, success achieved, etc.


Leather or metal stud used to close the plates of a book from the outer side to the spine.


Mark, design, which is revealed by looking at a certain type of paper against the light. Paper used for printing volumes until the early 19th century, thus until the advent of mechanically made paper, almost always bore the watermarked insignia of the paper mill that produced it. The study of watermarks is an essential component in tracing the age of some manuscripts.


Decorations, lines, and ornamental characters, placed at the end of a chapter, or book.


Moisture staining , oxidation and the like.


Term used in the restoration of the papers of a book, when reinforcing such papers with sheets of kneaded paper.

Foglio di guardia o sguardia

White, or decorated (sometimes marbled) sheet inserted between the binding of a book and the book itself to separate it from the cover.


Size of the book according to the folding of the sheets. Format: physical size of the book, the dimensions are named after the folds of the sheets of paper . In folio: over 38 cm; in 4°: 28 to 38 cm; in 8°: 20 to 28 cm; in 16°: 15 to 20 cm; in 24°: 10 to 15 cm.


Mechanical process in which, from photographic negative, matrix is made on sensitized metal plate.


Ornamentation in the margin of the text. Term also used in bookbinding where it means the decoration of the marginal parts of plates.


Page at the beginning of a book in which the author, title, typographical notes are given.

Gora o alone

Stain produced on paper or fabric by moisture or water.


Arte de dibujar en alambre o en relieve sobre una plancha de cobre u otro material para producir reproducciones impresas.


The term is used when the printed pages or figures of a book are embellished on the outside with an engraved frame. Term also used in bookbinding when the frame is embossed on the plates


Book printed in the 15th century, when the art of printing had just been born.


Text never published before.

Iniziale o capolettera

Letter intended as the first of a book, of a chapter of a paragraph. Sometimes initials make a significant contribution to the artistic typographic qualities of a book. Among the different types of initials, with artistic value we find: i. figured: initial with letter composed of characters or animals that stylized make up the letter; i. watermarked: initial inserted in arabesques (see entry); i. florid: initial embellished with plant decorations;i. istoriata: when a scene is reproduced within the initial; i. decorata: initial embellished with ornamental elements; i. parlata: when the initial of the text, embellished with a scene, also reproduces in the latter the iconographic display of the written text; i. zoomorphic: letter that reproduces the likeness of an animal.


To interpose, between the sheets of a book, blank sheets for additions, corrections, or for protective purposes in regard to illustrations.


Book whose pages have not yet been cut.


Art and technique of gathering and covering the fascicles of a work together to constitute the volume and to give it greater beauty, as well as to protect them over time.


Defamatory publication, often anonymous.


Printing system in which the printing and nonprinting areas are on the same plane, differentiated by a special chemical treatment. A pure limestone stone covered with a film is used, then the motif is drawn with a grease pencil, then replaced by typographic ink, next the stone will be wet , and when the roller is passed over it will result in covering only the parts where ink had previously been passed over, finally the sheet ready for the paper copy of the lithographic composition work will be applied.


Short for: place of printing.

Marca tipografica

Sign or emblem that printers usually stamp on the title page of the volume, or on the last printed page.


It is said of papers or skins decorated with stains and halos that resemble the grain of marble.


Said of a code (see entry) written on parchment.


Set of articles, essays, and sim. related to one or more topics, collected in a single volume.


Dissertation on a particular topic or character of historical, philosophical, literary, and sim.

Occhietto o occhiello

Page preceding the frontispiece and title page where only the title of the work is displayed.

Opera omnia

Complex of the works of one author collected together.


Drawstring embossing on the spine of bound books.


Small opera. Booklet of a few pages.


Page numbering.


Ancient manuscript on parchment in which writing has been superimposed on previous one scraped off or erased.


Pamphlet with polemical content.


In the field of bookbinding arts, different qualities of tanned leather are used for covering the back and plates , including: crossed bastard p.: Crossed between mutton and guinea goat; crocodile p.;morocco p.: tanned, grain-worked and embossed goat skin of great artistic value; mutton p. also known as bazzana; sow p.;calf p.


Very light cotton fabric, used for the binding covering.


Lamb, sheep or goat skin, macerated in lime, then dried and polished, once used for writing on and now for luxury bindings.

Piatto o specchio

Hard part of a book cover, covered with various materials.


The lower back.


Pamphlet, booklet of a few pages.


Manuscript commentary to the text that ancient readers affixed in the margin or between the lines.


Exclusive release issued by a local authority , granting a printer the exclusive right to print a particular work in the local area. The privilege was used until the late 18th century.


Literary text known or published under a name other than the real name of the writer.


Engraving technique by which the plate is engraved directly with a steel point.


Front side of the face of a paper.


Operation to align and equalize card cuts.


Set of operations performed by the bookbinder to apply a rigid blanket.

Risvolto o Bandella

Crease on inside of outside flap of front cover.


Work printed in several volumes, of which the owner lacks one or more.


Number, letter, and sim. that in a volume indicates the exact progression of blocks of pages, which were printed in a single sheet, then folded and bound.

Silografia o xilografia

Engraving technique in which parts not constituting the design are removed from the flat face of a wooden tablet.

Sovracoperta o sopracoperta

Printed sheet placed to protect the cover.


The three outer sides of a book not sewn together by the binding.


Rectangular or square leather part, applied to the spine of the binding, where the title of the book is printed.

Tavola fuori testo

It is the page of a book occupied entirely by an illustration and, in general, printed separately from the text and reunited with it by the bookbinder.


Decorative frieze found at the beginning of a text or part of a text (e.g. at the beginning of various chapters, or even paragaphs, etc.). Often it is the same frieze used for endpapers.


Section, part of a printed work.


The first and simplest manually operated printing press.


Inner edge of the plate protruding on the three sides of the cut, beyond the thickness of the sheets.

Velina (carta)

Type of parchment that is whiter and more delicate than regular parchment and is usually placed as protection to the boards inserted in a book.


Metal wire, which stretched with others, forms the weave necessary to hold the paper stock.


Back side of a sheet.


Originally a frieze in the shape of a leaf or vine shoot, later this term was used to refer to small drawings placed for ornamental purposes on the title page and at the end of a book chapter.