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The State University of New York at FredoniaReed Library

Microform in Reed Library: Home

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What Is Microform?

A photograph of a microfilm machine showing a page from The New York Times

To create microform, paper newspapers, periodicals, records, maps, and other documents are photographed and miniaturized. Microfilm is a roll of these images on film. Microfiche is a plastic sheet, usually 4" x 6", containing these images. Microform is a term that includes both microfilm and microfiche.

Special machines must be used to view, print, and save images from microform, but it allows great amounts of information to be stored in a relatively small space. Microform also lasts longer than paper, with a life expectancy of about 500 years.

For more information on microform, see this guide from the Washington State University Libraries.

Using Microform

A photograph of Reed Library's Microforms Room

Reed Library's microform holdings and microform readers are located in the Microforms Room on the first floor of the Library, near the entrance to the Carnahan-Jackson Center.

The Microforms Room is available for patron use at all times when the Library is open. If you are a new microform user, or if you anticipate you will need help, we suggest visiting when a reference librarian is available to help you. See the Library's hours for times when reference is available. You can also make an appointment by emailing the Reference librarians at

The Library has one microfilm reader connected directly to a printer, to allow Library visitors to print from microfilm without needing to use a computer. The Library also has a microform reader connected to a computer, allowing users to scan microfilm and microfiche. Scans can be saved to a flash drive or sent by e-mail. If you are not a student, faculty, or staff, you can use these computers by obtaining a Community User Login at the Circulation Desk.

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