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Suggested Reading List

19 August 2017

As A-levels Results Day has officially passed (Hurrah!) and many students are now discovering they are coming to Cardiff Uni I thought it would be fun to post a suggested reading list or useful books and resources list. Many of you are asking: What books will I need to buy? The answer is actually NONE! Any book you need will be available in the Art and Social Sciences Library. The conservation and archaeology sections are fairly decent and you generally find anything you need there. There is definitely no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on these sorts of items as you will find most are readily available in one format or another. These are merely suggestions on resources and books if you simply can’t wait until term!


Online Resources:

Discovering the AATA database has been life changing when it comes to finding articles and recent studies related to the projects I am working on in lab. It pulls together many recent and past articles that are related to your search and offers you their abstract so you can get a sense of whether they might be helpful to your particular study.

The Getty Conservation Institute puts out many publications a year and quite a lot are scanned into a PDF format that you can download from their website. You can search by author, title, and terms.

Conservation OnLine (CoOL) is the JSTOR for conservation. You can search for a topic and it will provide you with articles that will be relevant to your search. Some times the database can be limiting so I do like to also use AATA in conjunction with CoOL when I am looking for information.

The International Institute for Conservation of Historical and Artistic Works (IIC) is an international professional body that provides their publications online as PDFs. These include many articles that range from the dates of 1952 to present day. (Many of these are also available in print at the school)

The Institute of Conservation (ICON) is a UK based professional body that provides their publications online as PDFs. They also host many conferences in the UK which are a great sources of current research. (Many of these are available at the university)

The American Institute of Conservation (AIC) is the American based professional body that produces quarterly publications on the latest technology, research, and events. You can find some of their publications online as PDFs.



Now the last three resources are all organizations that you can buy a membership into. While this is always a good thing, it can be expensive. As Jane suggested on my first day in class ask for the memberships for Christmas, for your birthday, or any other holiday you might receive a gift on. Do not stress over joining them right away. Most of the publications will be available in the library and those who are members are good about sharing events and information from emails in the Cardiff Uni Conservation Facebook group (if you aren’t a member but have been accepted to the programme go join the group now!)


Now, if you are like me and love to own your own private library here are a few books you might be interested in:


V. Horie – Materials For Conservation

While often times you will find that quoting Horie as the end all and be all of sources will get you scoffed at in conferences this book is the go to for new students who are learning the ropes. It is a great introduction to adhesives and their properties and really breaks it all down well. Just remember that if you are going to use it as support in your papers make sure you also have recent, relevant articles to support it.


The Conservation Unit – Science for Conservators 1-3

These books were recommended to me by the professors when I first applied to the programme. They are perfect for anyone coming into the conservation department from another discipline or with little to no experience in the sector. They break down the basics of the chemistry, methods, and equipment in conservation.


S. Buys & V. Oakley – Conservation and Restoration of Ceramics

I honestly don’t even know the book by the title. It is always referred to as Buys and Oakley. This is the go to bible for ceramics conservation. It covers all forms of ceramics, conservation techniques, restoration and packaging.


R. Thomson – Conservation of Leather and Related Materials

I only discovered this book while I was on my internship and it is high on my personal to buy list. Not only does this book break down leather into the methods of creation, the care of, and conservation techniques but it also discusses other types of natural specimens. I used it for information on taxidermy and fur as well as reptile hides.


B. Stuart – Analytical Techniques in Materials Conservation

Another book that is high on my to buy list! This breaks down the different types of equipment used in conservation and the science behind them. It explains the measurements, readings, and graphs that you get from machines like FTIR, XRF, and SEM in a format that is clear and understandable.


National Trust – The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping

This tome serves as a resource for anyone interested in proper storage and display of objects, regular upkeep that aught to be done in a historic house or museum, or basic preventive conservation. This is often the book widely referred to when there are questions on any of the previously mentioned topics.



I hope this helped curb some curiosity into the sorts of resources we use on a daily basis here at Cardiff Uni and gave you some ideas for birthday lists. Again, most of these will be available for free once you arrive at the school so no rush in buying anything!


See you all soon!


All photos courtesy of Stephanie Whitehead.