The conservation staff works from a position of value. With input from the archivist, librarian or curator, the value of an item is establixhed. Materials may have historical, research, display, sentimental or monetary value and this decision forms the basis for the treatment program which is created for each item.
After the project has been completed, a conservator's report documents the condition of the item when received by the lab, what treatment it was given, and the materials that were used in the repair. One copy of the report is kept in the Conservation Lab files, one is returned to the archivist, and one copy is miniaturized and placed inside the book or with the item. Future conservators will then have documentation that will help them with their own repairs.
Materials and techniques used are done with an eye to reversibility because the work done in conservation is considered ephemeral. Someone, possibly 100 years hence, will be making repairs with new methods and materials. "Do no harm" is the guiding principle.