Staples are killing your document

notebooksI suspected staples had a dark side when I found two of them in a restaurant taco in 1991. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized librarians and zine archivists reflexively remove these and other rusting metal fasteners from documents, as this fascinating article from the US Govt National Archives explains. As a (lapsed) zinester, I used staples in both of my typewriter zines Silent Type I and Silent Type 2, but am currently looking into other methods for my odd habit of making pocket notebooks out of random paper dregs (see photo).

Pamphlet stitching, it would appear, is the archivist-approved way to bind a document, and so I’ll be dragging out my forgotten paper sewing skills for the next round of notebooks– somehow, like Origami and knitting, this seems to be a skill that has no cognitive sticking power, like knitting and origami, and although I understood it well enough to write a tutorial on it years ago, I’ve completely forgotten how to do it once again.


  1. JoeV

    I do have a fondness for those long-reach staplers (mine was purchased at Staples, of all places) just for their usefulness in binding pamphlets together. But perhaps I should take a closer look at stitching. Thanks for the idea.

    I’ve never seen a staple in a taco, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any, or other undesirable objects, in my food. Ignorance can be bliss.

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