MICROFORMS are a way of preserving and storing large amounts of print information in a condensed format. Periodicals and books may be photographed in a reduced scale and the resulting microcopies are magnified using special readers. Microforms are considered more stable and long-lived than most electronic (computer) files.

There are two general types of microforms.


Small sheets of special plastic support the photographs of the pages. These are approximately 4 by 6 inches in size. Each microfiche may contain many pages of information.


Microfilm is a long strip of film onto which information is copied. The spools of film are often used for archiving newspapers.


Libraries collect microforms for several reasons. The major one is a space saving device, especially for seldom used periodicals. It is also a way of acquiring copies of information no longer available in regular print. Back issues of a journal are an example. Some documents are only disseminated as microfiche or microfilm.

Though somewhat less convenient than traditional books, newspapers or periodicals, microforms contain much valuable information. High quality microform readers, such as those in the Busse Center Library, facilitate their use.

Among the most used items on microfilm are newspapers like the New York Times. Imagine the stack of newspapers which would be necessary to store and to search when a specific article is needed. The rolls of microfilm are easy to use when to alternatives are considered.

The same is true for microfiche. A 4 x 6 inch microfiche may store many pages from books or issues of journals.

The Busse Center Library keeps back issues of some journals on microfiche. There is also a small selection of ERIC Documents in microforms.


Ask at the Reference Desk for assistance in finding information and in using the Microfilm and Microfiche readers. It is possible to make photocopies using the reader-printers.