When the standard sheet of paper with its four rough or deckle edges is folded to produce a gathering, the resulting gathering has rough edges, and folds which need to be trimmed off or slit open before the book can be read. A book in which all the edges have been left rough, deliberately or otherwise, is known as “uncut”. A book in which the folds have not been slit is known as “unopened”.
Disparate books or volumes have been rebound at the same time in matching style. Though the sizes of the bindings may vary, the bindings are otherwise uniform in material and finish.
The whole binding, including the spine, has no lettering or label to indicate its contents. Simple English calf or sheep bindings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were often left unlettered.