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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

Most 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. The below example shows two records for Variety in LibrarySearch. 

Variety Catalog Records

3. Click on the "Online" button to find out if the year needed is available in a database. 

Variety online availability

4. If the year needed is not online but is available in remote storage, click on the "Request" button and log in to your library account using your Temple University credentials.

Variety holdings with Request Button


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 or email 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

The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin microfilm is stored on the ground floor of Paley Library.  All other Philadelphia Newspapers listed below are now available for online searching.  See "Requesting Depository Microfilm" for information on how to access these microfilm materials for page images or high quality scans.

Periodical 8:  The Philadelphia Inquirer covering the years 1900-1982. Issues from 1860-2002 can be searched and read online in ProQuest Historical newspapers. 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 Historical Newspapers and 1991-present can be searched in ProQuest.


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.