Tuesday, 9 November 2010

smell of books

Investigating the Smell of Old Books

April 16, 2008, 7:53 am

Researchers at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde are studying the smell of old books to “sniff” out the chemical signs of aging.

Books are placed for 24 to 48 hours in a sealed chamber, where “material and compounds responsible for the odour from the books” will be extracted and analyzed, according to a university press release. Findings from the analysis will be used to determine the best practices for storing old books—and may also explain where that musty old-book smell comes from.

The study is being conducted by the university’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry in partnership with the British Library, on a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.—Catherine Rampell

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