The research programme ''The Book in Byzantium: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Bookbinding'' was begun in 2002 by the Institute for Byzantine Research (IBR) following a proposal by the Hellenic Society for Bookbinding and in collaboration with the Byzantine and Christian Museum (BCM), under the academic direction of Dr Niki Tsironis.
The programme focused on the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine periods (until the end of the 18th century), covering different aspects of bookbinding. In general, the subjects covered fall within three categories concerning:
a) categories of bookbinding defined by material (luxury, leather-bound, cloth-bound editions etc.)
b) the study of artistic subjects related to books and book decoration and
c) the functional use of books and their symbolism.
The studies undertaken within the framework of the programme were presented at an International Conference of the same title that took place from 13-16 2005 at the Leonidas Zervas Amphitheatre at the Hellenic National Research Foundation (HNRF). In addition, within the context of the conference two displays of important bindings were exhibited at the Greek Parliament Library and at the Gennadius Library.
The proceedings of the conference were published in 2008 as the third volume in the periodical edition on Hellenic bookbinding, Vivlioamphiastis, published by the Hellenic Society for Bookbinding.
The research programme demonstrated, at least in terms of the Greek state of affairs but also more generally, the acceptance of the study of bookbinding: that it provides historical evidence and is inextricably linked with cultural development, while simultaneously supplying the researcher with an element of material civilization for further exploring the historical past. At the same time it justified the involvement of specialists who do not fall within the field of humanities research, such as book conservators, bookbinders and even collectors.
A new research programme began in 2005 as the second phase of the programme ''The Book in Byzantium'' in order to solve or to work on further questions that had arisen in the first phase, such as for example that of terminology. The SEVY programme (''Modern Applications of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Bookbinding'') was put into effect as part of the 3rd Community Support Framework Operational Programme and was completed in 2008. The aim of SEVY was to systematize research on bookbinding as well as its connection with production. It involved the preparation of three databases, which we hope will prove useful to the scholars of bookbinding in manifold ways.