Microfilm & Microfiche

Microform Information

Microform is a term that includes several different formats of materials in a reduced size to preserve and compact large quantities of information into less storage space:

  • Microfilm – photographic images of pages on a reel of film
  • Microfiche (also known as "fiche") – photographic images of pages on a small 4” x 6” sheet of film
  • Microcard (also known as micro-opaque) – microscopic printed images of text on a thick card of paper

Materials may be partially or completely duplicated in the collection, via print or electronic format. However, some microform materials are unique and only available in microformat.  Resolution quality varies based on the original source material and the quality of the photographic processing.

Microform Readers, Scanners & Printers in Evans Library

Available on the 2nd floor of the Evans Library near the University Writing Center.

Readers attached to computers, will allow patrons to scan microform materials and edit to improve quality.

A text magnifier is available that will magnify, scan and save/print opaque formats including microprint or regular textual materials.

Digitized files can be saved to CD-ROM or flash drive at no cost or printed on the networked printer for 10 cents per page.

Library Staff is available for help in locating materials or using the readers.

Access, Circulation & Copying

Use LibCat to get a call number to locate materials in this section as you would with other library collections. However, be aware that some materials can only be found using some specialized indexes, such as the Guide to the Microform Collections in the Sterling C. Evans Library. Call numbers are assigned according to the type of material. The designation FILM or FICHE will also be part of the call number. Some materials are grouped as part of a collection in the area, such as newspaper, government documents, ERIC microfiche, etc.

If you have a complete reference (with page numbers) of what you need, you can request pdf images of microform materials through Get it for me, subject to their guidelines.

Microfiche and film can be checked out from the library. A few portable readers are also available to check out, however the larger readers in the library offer better resolution and printing/scanning capability. There is no charge for scanning and saving to a portable memory device. The scanner/computers are networked to allow patrons to print at 10 cents per page.


Newspapers and journals are the most frequently requested items in microform. We have approximately 3,000 subscription titles. Some Texas newspapers are held, but only the Houston Chronicle has a print index. Many national newspapers are indexed by a variety of databases or are available in electronic format available through the library's home page. International coverage is provided by government translations of foreign papers through the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Electronic Index. Other popular items are ERIC documents and curriculum guides.

Many subject areas are covered by the wide variety of major research collections in microform. Some examples are:

  • Agriculture - State experiment station publications
  • Anthropology - Human Relations Area Files
  • History - U.S. Presidential papers, Radical Pamphlet Literature, Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
  • Literature - Wright American Fiction, Spanish Drama of the Golden Age
  • Science - Landmarks of Science
  • Sociology - Underground Newspaper Collection

Physical Arrangement

Call numbers are assigned according to the type of material. For example, newspaper call numbers begin with the letter "N". The designation FILM or FICHE will also be part of the call number. The call number and location needed to find an item is designated in LibCat.