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Find and Use Microform Materials  

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2011 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Depository Microforms

The library has acquired digital editions of many of the popular series which were once available only as Microforms.  As a result, many of these sets have been moved to off-site storage in the Library Depository.  These series include:

Early American Imprints, Series I -- 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


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?


About Microforms

Microform materials (including microfilm, microfiche, and microcards) are photographic reproductions of documents reduced in size, generally to about one twenty-fifth the size of the original.  One reads these reduced images by means of special machines which magnify them.  Paley library has several of these microfilm scanners available for public use on the Ground Floor--one floor below the entrances.

The microform materials are stored either on Paley's Ground Floor or in the Library Depository (see sidebar).  Paley's microform holdings include a number of journals, newspapers, research collections, and government documents.  You can find the film or fiche number for these items in the Diamond Catalog.  Typically, these call numbers will begin with "Micro-", followed by a number.  The government document microfiche, however, is filed by SuDocs call number.

The largest microfiche collection is the ERIC documents set, a collection of research on Education.  These are filed by ERIC Accession Number in compact storage cabinets near the Media Services desk.  You can locate relevant document numbers in the ERIC database using the EBSCO interface, the WilsonWeb interface, or the public version of ERIC hosted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Most sets of periodical microfilm have call numbers which start with "Micro- film PER".  These can be found by consulting the Diamond Catalog or by searching for the periodical in Journal Finder. A guide to the most frequently requested microfilm newspapers is in this PDF.

Many of the larger microform collections come with indexes and finding aids, which are filed by their Micro- number on shelves at the end of each row of microforms.

Microform materials are easy to use with minimal training, but newcomers may find them daunting to consult at first.  Do not hesitate to ask for help at the Media Services desk, where staff are trained to assist you.  Media Services is staffed during the following hours.

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Phone: 215-204-8212

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