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Find and Use Microform Materials: Home

What Are Microforms?

Examples of microform materials.

Microform materials (including microfilm, microfiche, and microcards) are photographic reproductions of documents that have been reduced to about one twenty-fifth the size of the original. 

One views micromaterials using special machines that magnify the images.  Paley Library has three digital microfilm scanners available for public use on the Ground Floor near the Media Services department.  The Ambler Library also has one digital microfilm scanner available.

Microform materials are easy to use with minimal training, but newcomers may find them daunting at first.  Media Services staff are able to assist with microfilm questions during the following hours.

Why Microfilm?

Something to consider:

The estimated life span of microfilm stored at proper conditions is 500 years.  The estimated life span of a digital file is about 10 years.

Which medium is more likely to survive an apocalypse?

Requesting Depository Microfilm

Except for Philadelphia newspapers housed at Paley Library, microform materials are located in off-site storage in the Library Depository. You may encounter microform materials when looking for a specific journal or newspaper title. 

1. Search for a specific journal or newspaper title in Journal Finder

2. In your results list, check that the year needed is not available online. The below example shows the record for Variety as listed in Journal Finder. Note that issues from 1905-present are available in the Temple Print & Microfilm Collection. Keep in mind that the journal may be available in print instead of microform format. 

Journal Finder Variety Record

3. Click on the "Temple Print & Microform Collection" link for full details. Verify the specific journal or newspaper title's format availability and location.

4. Click on the "Request" button located above the search box to request that the microfilm be retrieved.

Diamond Variety Record

5. When choosing your pickup location, select a library location. Select Email only if you are requesting individual articles. You will receive your individual articles electronically through your Temple email. You will receive an email when the microfilm(s) you have requested are available for pickup. Call 215-204-0744 if you are having trouble requesting materials from the Library Depository.

Microform Sets Online

The library provides online access to many popular series which were once available only as Microforms.  As a result, many of these sets have been discarded. 

Microfilm series available through the library's databases include:

Early American Imprints, Series I and II-- Available at this link (I) and this link (II)

America's Historical Newspapers -- Available at this link

American Periodicals Series -- Available at this link

Federal Register -- Available at this link

Moody's Mergent Manuals -- Available at this link

Dissertations & Theses -- Many available via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses @ Temple

Philadelphia Newspapers On Microfilm

Microfilm copies of Philadelphia Newspapers are stored on the ground floor of Paley Library.

Periodical 8:  The Philadelphia Inquirer covering the years 1900-1982. Issues from 1981 onward can be searched and read online in ProQuest. Issues from 1829 to 1922 can be searched and read online (full-page image) in Early American Newspapers, a.k.a. America's Historical Newspapers.

Periodical 16:  The Public Ledger covering 1877-1913 and 1923-1934.  Coverage from 1836-1876 is online in America's Historical Newspapers.  The Library of Congress provides online access to issues covering 1914-1922 in its Chronicling America newspaper archive.

Periodical 24:  The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin's full run (from 1870-1978) is housed at Paley Library.

Periodical 267:  The Philadelphia Tribune from 1912-present is available on microfilm.  Issues from 1912-2001 can also be searched via ProQuest.

Periodical 764:  The Philadelphia Daily News coverage includes 1992-present.  Issues from 1983-present can also be searched via ProQuest Newsstand

Group Microfilm Instruction

Instructors:  If your students will be required to use microfom materials for a class assignment, please contact Media Services librarian Brian Boling to schedule a short instruction session on how to use the library's microform reader/scanners.