When publishers’ page attachments are not not up to the standard of durability and openability needed by libraries, the most pragmatic response in the short term is for each individual library to supply a better page attachment to those materials that need it.

The best page attachment for library use for thin music scores is a folio pamphlet that can be sewn into a binder. In many cases an inferior attachment (staples, adhesive, tape) can be removed, leaving unbound pages ready to guard — that is, connect down the center by some means — into a sewable pamphlet.

Three basic guarding methods are shown below. All three involve gluing pages down the center. A good archival quality PVA glue is recommended for this, since the life of the pamphlet will be limited to the life of the glue.


Types of Guarding

Overlap Guarding

If the pages to be guarded have plenty of center margin, the simplest and fastest guarding approach is as follows

  • Divide the score in half as if opening it to the center (If there are an odd number of sheets cut an extra sheet to size and place it at the end)
  • Trim 1/4″ from the inside (right hand) margin of each page in the back half of the score.
  • Set the score on a work area as if it were open at the middle
  • Lay the top sheet from the left hand pile on a piece of heavy scrap paper, lay another strip of scrap paper over it to expose about 3/16″ of the inner margin edge of the sheet
  • Brush glue, stencil style, along the inner margin
  • Lay the top sheet from the other pile so that its inner margin overlaps the glue line
  • Use a bone folder to smooth down the exposed edge on both sides
  • Fold the new sheet in half down the center
  • With practice, this process takes about one minute per folio


Tape Guarding

For scores that do not have a sufficient inner margin for overlap guarding, strips of paper or Tyvek (Gaylord’s TR3050 Tyvek rolls are the material Sibley Library uses) may be glued down the center. It is important not to use guarding material that is thicker or stiffer than the pages being guarded, since that will invite future hinge problems.

  • Divide the score in half as if open at the center, as above, adding an extra sheet at the end if needed
  • Lay the top two sheets together with a tiny space (less than 1/16″) between them.
  • Brush glue onto a strip of paper or Tyvek and use the strip to guard the two sheets down the center.
  • Fold the new sheet in half down the center


Reverse Tape Guarding

Some comb and spiral bound scores have so little inner margin that the holes trespass into the text area. Since cutting off the holes will leave no binding margin, the best option is to glue paper or Tyvek strips over the holes. In this case, applying the glue to the strip is not a good option since the holes will let glue through to glue adjacent sheets together at the hinge. Adding another strip to the other side is also to be avoided, since the thick, laminated result will be too strong for a durable hinge. Combining techniques from the two methods above yields an approach that works better.

  • Remove the spiral or comb and divide the score into two piles of sheets, as above
  • Cut paper or Tyvek to into strips wide enough to cover the holes completely, but without covering text
  • Use the stencil technique to apply glue to the inner margin of one top sheet. Be careful not to use too much glue
  • Lay a guarding strip over the line of glue
  • Use the stencil technique to brush glue on the other top sheet and lay the other side of the strip (with the other sheet attached) over the glue line
  • turn the new sheet over and gently flatten the inner edges, holes and all, on the guarding strips
  • fold the new sheet in half

Alice Carli, guarding
Last updated: February 16, 2008, at 08:14 PM EST

Business Office: 8551 Research Way, Suite 180, Middleton, WI 53562 | Phone: 608–836–5825 | FAX: 608–831–8200 | Email: mla@areditions.com | 2009 Music Library Association