What is microfilm or microfiche?

Everyone once in a while, you will find information that is contained in microfilm or microfiche. We don’t buy very much microfilm or microfiche any more, but you will still find some records in the catalog where we only have the item in this format.

(Images are from Oregon State University and Wesley Fryer.)

For example, here are some records you could find in our catalog.

Location Microfilm Lower Level
Call Number: FILM P 779

History of West Point, and its military importance during the American Revolution [microform] : and the origin and progress of the United States Military Academy. Boynton, Edward Carlisle, 1824-1893. Freeport, N.Y. : Books for Libraries Press, 1970.

LIB USE ONLY -  Microfiche -  LAC 14662

What are these things?

Microfilm is essentially 35mm photographic film that was used to take images of the pages of a book, a periodical volume or a newspaper.  The reel of film is then duplicated and sold to libraries.  Microfiche are flat sheets of photographic film about 4×6 inches in size.

Where are they located?

They can be found on the lower level of the library near the base of the main stair well.

How do I extract the information from it?

We have two machines (Canon Microfilm Scanner 300) on the main floor of the library where you can create copies of the pages by scanning and printing from it, or you could save the scans as images or as a single PDF document.  (They are located under the Writing Center on the map.) Once you scan your document, you could either save it to a flash drive, a CD-ROM, or email it to yourself.  Please use the instruction manual when you use the scanners.  Here are some YouTube videos that might help you use them.

We are getting some new scanners, but the general concepts of loading the film and scanning the pages will remain the same.  Please let us know if you have any questions finding microfilm or using the equipment.

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2 Responses to “What is microfilm or microfiche?”

  1. Logan Janzen says:


    Where can I find a list of newspapers kept on microfilm at the library?

    Logan J.

  2. Joseph Kraus says:

    I would recommend that you use the catalog to search for the newspaper you are looking for. We have them in a variety of formats, some microfilm, some in print, and many are online. For example, a search on the Denver Post brings up over 400 records, but the main links to the Denver post are at the top. You can then limit to the location of microforms (100 results) if you so desire.