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How Do I Find Microforms?

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What are Microforms?

Microforms are images which have been reduced in scale from that which is readable by the unaided eye and transferred to either transparent or opaque materials. Most of the microforms in the University of Chicago Library collection are microfilm and microfiche, which are transparencies.

All microforms require special equipment to view, print, or scan them.

Transparent Microforms

Microfilm is produced in long strips, like motion picture film, and comes in 16 and 35-millimeter sizes. The microfilm strips are loaded on to reels, similar to motion picture film reels, although much smaller.

Microfiche are transparencies that come in either 3" x 5" or 4" x 6" sheets.

Ultrafiche are a special microfiche format with magnification ratios larger than 60X.

Opaque Microforms

Opaque microforms include microcards, which are 3" x 5" and microprint, which are 6" x 9". Opaques (microcards and microprint) can have images on both sides while microfilm and microfiche, as transparencies, can have images on only one side.

Searching for Microforms

Cataloged Microforms

Most of the Library's microform materials can be found by searching the Library Catalog. The call number is proceeded by one of the following prefixes:

  • microfm (microfilm)
  • microfc (microfiche)
  • microcd (microcard)
  • micropt (microprint)

The location will indicate which campus library houses the micoform in question. For a list of microform collection locations, see Microform Collections in this guide.

Uncatalogued Microforms - Middle East Microforms

The Library's Middle Eastern Collection has an extensive collection of journals, monographs, government publications, and other published research materials on microfilm. Many of these items are catalogued and are indicated in the online catalog by the location "Regenstein, 5th Floor Middle East Microforms." Most of these catalogued items as well as others which are uncatalogued are listed in the MEDOC Catalogue of Microform Projects.

The Middle Eastern Collection also holds microfilm copies of approximately 2000 manuscripts from libraries and universities around the world, most of which are uncatalogued. These are listed in Middle East Manuscripts in Microformat.

Materials in the Middle East Microforms Collection may be used only within the building. Please consult a staff member in the Middle East Department office (JRL 560) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for access and further information, or contact Marlis Saleh in advance.