For anyone who doesn’t get why old book smell is special, they need to talk to Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlič. They are both scientists from the University College London’s Institute for Sustainable Heritage who wax poetic when talking about the smell that envelops them when they enter the library of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. “It is a combination of paper, leather, wood … and time,” say Bembibre and Strlič.
According to this post on Upworthy.com, the pair are using both high-tech chemistry and an old-fashioned human nose to document the smell of books. And more than that, “they’re on a mission to preserve it.”