The University of Glasgow in Scotland has a special project under way to find out why visitors being shown around the Special Collections often comment on the distinctive and evocative aroma of old books. The university is collaborating with a research team based at the University of Strathclyde to investigate what causes these smells.
The team called the heritage smells project is looking for a way to capture the chemical component of the smell. On a more serious note it is hoped that their findings will help find out what causes the deterioration of the material in books with a view to preservation treatment. The emissions might also be harmful and may also answer the question on why the books degraded.
If you’d like to more about the project click on the link Heritage Smells.