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Microforms Finding Guides and Indexes

Tools for using the microforms collections

Microforms & Newspapers Department

The microform collection located at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (6th Floor) features microfilm/microfiche printers and scanners. Patrons can read, scan, or print microforms; edit scanned documents; save documents to a flash drive; and send files to an email account, Dropbox, or a Google Drive account.

What is a microform?

Microform is material stored by means of photographic reproduction and requires magnification to be read. Although material is increasingly being made accessible online, some is still only available in microform format. We hold two types of microform:

  • Microfilm:
    • mainly available on 35mm film or 16mm film on reels
  • Microfiche:
    • transparent film sheets, usually 4x6 or 3x5 inches
    • each sheet can hold between 40-100 pages

How to use this guide

Many microform collections are accompanied by a paper guide that aids in scholarship by acting as an index, often by author, title, or subject. Rather than scrolling through every single reel or scanning each fiche to find relevant information, a microform guide or index helps users quickly and easily find relevant topics and their location on the reels or fiche. While there are many paper-editions of the guides on the 6th floor, digital copies of the microform guides can be viewed remotely.

If you know the title or call number of the microform collection you are interested in using, check this guide to see if it has a digital guide available.

Using the Collection

The manuscript microfilm section is sorted numerically by call number. If you need additional assistance, ask at the Media Services desk on the 6th floor. Please refer to the chart below for the manuscript microfilm's location. (Click through for a larger image)


Once you have located the correct film, our microfilm/microfiche scanners enable patrons to read and print microforms; edit the scanned images using advanced editing software; save documents as OCR-enabled .pdfs, tiffs, or .jpgs; scan documents to a flash drive; and send the files through email, Google Drive, or Dropbox.

Finishing Up

When you are done, please place used microfilm and microfiche in any of the bins labed "Microforms Returns" located on top of the microforms cabinets or on the service desk. 

**Please do not refile microfilm and microfiche yourself.**

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