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Why Is It?
Microfiche are small
flat sheets of photographic film. This
format is used for a wide variety of materials. Back issues of magazines and certain government publications
are only two of the resources that Carrier Library has on microfiche.
is a roll of photographic film. The
library orders many of its newspaper back issues in microfilm.
If you’re a fan of old espionage movies, this is the technology the
movie spies used. Remember how they photographed the enemy’s documents with
their special little cameras then handed little rolls of film over to their
superiors at Spy Headquarters? That was microfilm.
Ultrafiche is a super-duper type of microfiche. They have such small images that one 4 inch by 6 inch sheet can accommodate up to 3,000 pages of images. Because the images are so small, ultrafiche requires a special lense if you’re using a standard microfiche reader. Carrier Library has several ultrafiche sets including the Library of American Civilization.
are opaque cards that require a special reader.
They are similar to microfiche in that they have greatly reduced images
arranged in rows. Because
microcards are opaque, you can’t print copies off microcard images unlike
microfiche or microfilm images. This
is an obsolete technology but we have a few valuable resources in this format
such as Landmarks of Science so we’re holding onto our microcard readers.
Besides, twenty years from now, they’ll be antiques.
We might be able to sell them to the Smithsonian and recoup our repair
these are the four types of microforms Carrier Library owns: microfiche,
microfilm, ultrafiche and microcards. Look
at this way; the word microform is like the word truck.
You have vans, tractor semi-trailers, and concrete mixers. They’re different types of vehicles but all are considered
You’re probably wondering why we still have microforms. Surely, all of this stuff is available on computer now? While we’re acquiring more and more resources electronically, some resources won’t be available electronically anytime soon. Microfiche and microfilm will probably be with us for at least another decade. But then, my track record in future predictions isn’t all that great. Twenty years ago when asked, I confidently asserted that the demise of the Soviet system wouldn’t occur within my lifetime. So you should probably take my predictions about microforms with a grain of salt.
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