Q. What are microfilm and microfiche? How can I view them? Can I make copies?

Answered By: Kathryn Ray
Last Updated: May 13, 2020     Views: 112

So what's Microform?

Microform is a tiny photographic or analog reproduction of the actual page of the original. Microforms include both microfilm and microfiche. The Library's microform collection includes both 35 mm microfilm on a reel and 10 x 14 mm flat microfiche. Fiche is the French word for "card", thus the pronunciation: "microFEESH".

Microform requires a special magnifying machine to be able to read it. The readers can scan images from microform and produce a pdf of the pages. Staff of the ILL desk can help in locating microforms and using the microform readers. Instructions for using the equipment are posted by the machines. 

Most microform, including microfilm of older issues of the New York Times, is kept in storage at the WRLC Center in Maryland.  To request microform from storage, use the same CLS request form that is used for requesting books through the Consortium. The microform will be delivered to the AU library.

The AU library has an extensive collection of newspapers, AU Dissertations and Theses, ERIC Documents and journals on microform.

Microform is a stable archival storage medium that greatly saves space in the library.  The production of microfilm has been reduced by the availability of electronic databases such as ProQuest Historical Newspapers, Dissertations and Theses and JSTOR.

Who can help me?

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) unit of the library is responsible for assisting with the microform collection.  Microform service is provided by ILL from the first floor Circulation and Course Reserves desk.

If the exact citation is known, AU students, faculty and staff may request articles via ILL.  ILL staff will scan the article and upload it to their My Library Account.

If an exact citation is not known, or you wish to peruse microform, please contact Shane Hickey shickey@american.edu to set up an appointment to ensure that staff will be available to assist.

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