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Microforms: Microfilm and Microfiche in the WSU Libraries

Microforms FAQ


What is a Microform?

This is a printed item that has been reduced to a size too small to be read by the unaided eye. Microfiche and Microfilm are types of Microforms and require the use of a Microform reader.
What is Microfiche?
Microfiche is a type of Microform which consists of a single sheet of plastic that can hold numerous copied pages.  If an article or document is comprised of hundreds of pages, many Microfiche sheets may be needed.
What is Microfilm?
Microfilm is a type of Microfiche which resembles a large roll of camera film.  A single Microfilm roll can hold many more pages than a Microfiche page.
Where are the Microforms and readers located?

Most microforms are in the Microforms Room on the 1st floor of the Holland Library Microfilm/fiche readers are also available in the Animal Health Library.

Do I need special permission to use the readers?

No, feel free to use the readers on your own.  Consult a reference librarian if you have any questions or problems.

Why Do We Still Use Microforms?

microform and microfiche lab at Holland Library WSU

According to the U.S. National Archives, which continues to microfilm material:

  • Microfilm is low cost
  • Production is standardized
  • The life expectancy of microfilm is hundreds of years
  • Microforms are easy and inexpensive to maintain

 Digital information is:

  • Better for immediate access to information
  • Not standardized, keeps changing, and is unstable
  • Digital information has a high maintenance cost
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