Binder Spine Text Orientation

In my job, sometimes I get the dubious privilege of working on some really BIG documents; so big, in fact, that they don’t make clips big enough to hold that many pages together. Such a clip would probably be a safety hazard – especially for me. (One of the other nicknames hubby calls me is Grace, as in “Way to go, Grace!”)

A safer means of holding together big documents is the three-ring binder (although I’ve managed to pinch myself several times using those, too.) Some of these binders come with clear plastic pockets in the front so you can slip in a colorful title page. There is usually a similar pocket on the spine for a title, so you can readily pick out the correct binder in a bookcase filled with dozens of white
binders.

Here’s the question of the day: Which way do you orient the title text on the spine? You can slip it in “feet first” or “head first.” Which is correct?

As a Texaco Librarian in a former life, I remember tilting my head to the right to read the titles of books on the shelves in the movable stacks. (You can always tell a librarian or bookstore employee by their unsymmetrical neck muscles.) Upon further investigation, I learned that according to Wikipedia, in the US, the UK, and Scandinavia, book spine titles are generally written with the left-to-right title oriented top-to-bottom. That means you would insert the title slip into the binder spine pocket feet first. That way, when the book is placed on a table with the front cover upwards, the title is right side up. In most of continental Europe, however, the general convention for book spine text is the opposite, or bottom-to-top.

Now here’s your helpful Tip of the Day:
Getting that thin slip of paper into that spine pocket can really try your patience. After doing this a number of times, I have discovered four tricks that really help:

1) Cut your title slip so it is a good deal thinner than the binder spine width. For a two-inch binder, make your slip 1.5 inches wide or even narrower so it doesn’t get hung up along the pinched sides.

2) Open the binder as far as you can. This will make the clear plastic less taut across the binder, opening up the pocket a bit wider for you.

3) Stand the binder upright so you are pushing the title slip downward, allowing gravity to help you. Hey, every little bit counts!

4) Wiggle the slip of paper back and forth as you push it “feet first” down into
the pocket. There’s a good reason for this, and I learned it in high school physics class: The coefficient of kinetic friction is lower than the coefficient of static friction.

Keep in mind that if you write your documents more succinctly, you might be able to use a simple clip and not have to fool with binder spine slips at all.

2 Responses to “Binder Spine Text Orientation”

  1. Andrew McQuillan Says:

    I found the following helpful:
    1. Print out your spine about 2 inches longer than you need on the bottom edge.
    2. Fold that two inches over the end of a ruler (a thin metal one is best).
    3. Push the spine down into the plastic using the ruler.
    $. Pull out the ruler, and the spine will stay in place.

  2. dario Says:

    I found this information very helpful. thx

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