Frequently asked Questions: Microforms Service

What is a microform, and what types of microforms does Princeton collect?

Microform materials exist in one of four forms:

  • Microfilm: 16mm or 35mm film on reels, usually 100 feet in length
  • Microfiche: 4" X 6" or 3" X 5" film sheets, each holding 40 to 98 pages
  • Microcard: 3" X 5" opaque card
  • Micro-opaque: 6" X 9" opaque sheet

Princeton University Library currently collects both microfilm and microfiche formats.  Microcards and micro-opaques are an obsolete format, but the library has collected these formats in the past.

How do I locate various microforms?

Most microformat materials are cataloged and can be found by searching the Main Catalog. Some large sets, however, do not have item-level cataloging, so that in order to identify individual works, users must consult a guide or index. These reference aids are located in the Microforms Service stacks right outside of the Microforms Service office, along with a small collection of text-based CDs. Call numbers for the guides and indexes have the location Film B, followed by a call number.

Microform call numbers are preceded by the descriptors MICROFILM, MICROFICHE, MICROCARD, and MICROPRINT.

Can I print and scan microforms and what equipment is available to do so?

Machines are available to read each type of microform. During Microforms Service operating hours, a staff member is available to demonstrate their use.  The ScanPro 1000 and 2000 readers/printers/scanners are available for reading, printing, and scanning filmed images from microfilm and microfiche. The ScanPro 1000/2000 also reads/prints/scans microcards and micro-opaques. Self-service printing is available from any nearby pharos printer.

Are instructions available on how to use the equipment?

Yes, please see our Equipment Instructions

How do I transfer scanned files to a flashdrive or to the Princeton central file server "H" drive?

When you are using the ScanPro equipment, save scanned files to the "my scans" folder on the hard drive first.  Then, drag to a flashdrive or to the Princeton central file server ("H" drive) for users with a valid Princeton netid.  Smaller files can also be attached in an email. 

To connect to the H drive:

  1. Right click “Map Network”; then type \\files\ your logon ID – in the first box (Do not check off “reconnect at logon”) then click finish
  2. when password box opens, type: Princeton\your logon ID then your e-mail password; then click OK
  3. drag file that is saved on the desktop to your H drive
  4. be sure to disconnect by right clicking map network then by clicking on “disconnect network drive”

For information about connecting to this server, please consult:

Can microfilm reels be duplicated?

Firestone Microforms Service no longer supports the equipment or the staff necessary for duplicating microfilm reels from the library's general collection.  However, the library does provide microfilm scanning services (microfilm to pdf) for materials held within Special Collections.  See policies and fees for more information.

Are some microforms available in electronic format?

Many microformat collections are being digitized by commercial publishers or nonprofit groups. Some of these digital resources are only available to Princeton faculty, students, and staff. Reference librarians can advise you about whether a particular source or collection exists in digital form. To confer with a reference librarian, go to the service desk on the first floor of Firestone. 

What do I do if I cannot locate a particular reel of film or the date I'm looking for is missing?

If materials are missing, you can request them via Interlibrary Loan Services or visit the Interlibrary Loan Services office on B level in Firestone Library.

How can I request microform materials that Princeton's library does not own?

If Princeton does not own a specific microformat source you need, you can check the online catalog of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), a consortium to which Princeton belongs and that collects and lends large sets of microfilm for use by researchers at member libraries. Reference librarians can also help you identify other libraries that hold sources you need, so that you can place an interlibrary loan request for the material.

Where can I find historical resources in microformat?

Please consult the History Resources Guide.

Where can I find Latin American resources in microformat?

Is there a listing of newspapers on microfilm available?

Yes. Click on the newspaper links on the left banner of the Microforms Home page.