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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