Library Lingo: Microfilm

February 20, 2009 – 2:35 PM
Typical microfilm reel; image courtesy of the Oregon State University Archives.

Typical microfilm reel; image courtesy of the Oregon State University Archives.

Microfilm is a technology, popular in the 1970s, that allows the preservation of information in a small space. Images of each page of a document were photographed and preserved on film.  For example, page images of 6 months of a newspaper can be stored on a reel of microfilm that fits in a 4 by 4 inch box.  Microfilm is read using a special reader, and individual pages can also be printed out.  Some materials are still microfilmed today, but most things are digitized so they can be viewed on computers.

At the UGA Libraries we have many materials on microfilm, including newspapers, journals, and books. Microfilm materials appear with the location note “Main Basement Microforms” in GIL, the online catalog.  They are kept in the basement of the Main Library, where there are also microfilm readers and printers available.

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