How To Submit Data to the Poison Book Project

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Thank you for your interest in contributing data about bookbindings colored with arsenic-containing emerald green pigment to the Poison Book Project. In order to maintain the integrity of our arsenical bindings database, we ask that you submit corroborating evidence along with the bibliographic information for each emerald green book.

To submit individual bindings to the database: PLEASE NOTE: We are currently experiencing network outages that are impacting our data submission form. Please read the information below about how to assemble data, and then contact Melissa Tedone at mtedone[at]winterthur[dot]org to submit the information. Updated April 7, 2022.

  • Please click the green "Submit New Book" button at the top of the Poison Book Project Data Submission Form. Please be prepared to upload a JPG or PDF file (2M max) to support your claim, according to the guidelines below. Please make sure to fill out the "Corroborating Evidence File Name" box, so we will be able to associate your web form with the file you upload.
  • Please be prepared to provide the following information for each binding: title, author, publisher, location, date, type of corroborating evidence, type of emerald green material (e.g. bookcloth, paper, onlay, endpaper, textblock edges, etc.)
  • Under "Collection Name," please tell us the name of your institution; alternatively, let us know if the book belongs to a private collection. If you do not give us permission to use the name of the collection publicly, then we will list the contribution to the database as "undisclosed institution" or "private owner."

To submit larger data sets to the database (e.g., 5 bindings or more):

  • Please contact Melissa Tedone at mtedone[at]winterthur[dot]org for an Excel template.

Methods of Identification Accepted As Corroborating Evidence

X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF)

  • For XRF analysis, we strongly recommend collecting qualitative data (counts/spectra), not quantitative data (ppm or %). We also recommend using a zero background plate placed just inside the book cover to avoid interference from elements in the text block.
  • Please submit XRF spectra as a PDF or JPG.
  • Technical specifications: At Winterthur, we use the following instrument and settings: Bruker Tracer III-SD XRF spectrometer using a rhodium tube (40kV high voltage, 9.6μA anode current, 25μm Ti/305μm Al filter) for 60 seconds live time irradiation.

Raman Spectroscopy

  • Please submit Raman spectra as a PDF or JPG.
  • Technical specifications: At Winterthur, we have had success with the following Raman parameters on bookcloth: Renishaw Invia Raman spectrometer extended scan from 150-1200cm-1; 60 accumulations of 25s each at 5% laser power with a 785nm diode laser.

Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)

  • Tips and recommendations for sampling, sample preparation, and analysis by PLM have been compiled into a document available upon request from mtedone[at]winterthur[dot]org or rgrayburn[at]winterthur[dot]org. Please submit a photomicrograph as corroborating evidence for PLM.

Emerald Green Color Swatch Bookmark

  • The emerald green color swatch bookmark is not a conclusive means of identifying emerald green bookcloth, but it can help give a visual indication that, when combined with other context clues such as publication date, may help narrow down whether a book is likely to be bound in arsenical green cloth. Please submit a JPG of the book adjacent to a Poison Book Project color swatch bookmark. For best results, take the photograph in natural, but indirect, light. See example below. Please note that the bookmark is intended for identification of emerald green bookcloth only. Glazed emerald green bookbinding paper has been found to exhibit a different hue of green.
JPG image of an emerald green book in natural, indirect light. Courtesy, private owner.