You are here

Microforms collection

What are microforms?

Microforms are photographic reproductions on film of a printed page or document, usually reduced to about one twenty-fifth of the original document size, so that special equipment is needed to view them.  Microforms (including microfilm and microfiche) are cheaper and take up much less space than other formats; they are also a stable format that should be viewable for many years, and are often used to copy documents of historical value.

Library microfilm collections allow access to many collections, including old newspapers and government documents, that would otherwise not be available to researchers.

How do I find them?

Items in our Microforms collection are listed in the SFU Library catalogue -- just like print and electronic editions of our books, journals, reports, etc. You can search by author, title, and subject. Every title in the collection is given a location code to help you find it. The location codes in the SFU Library catalogue for the Microforms collection are:

  • Microforms Classified
  • Microforms Large Fiche
  • Microforms Newspapers/Journals
  • Microforms Small Fiche
  • InfoTrac

Some of the microforms are given classification numbers as well as one of the above codes. Typical call numbers and locations might look like Microforms Classified HG 044 22 or Microforms Classified J O2 25. These locations and class numbers are needed to find specific items in the Microforms collection.

Where are they?

The Microforms collection is located at the north-west corner of the 6th floor of the Library.

map of Bennett Library sixth floor highlighting microform collection

(Also see the detailed map at the end of this guide.)

What does the Library own?

The Library has the equivalent of close to a million volumes in microform.

Newspapers

Some of the most popular microforms in our collection are: The Vancouver Sun, Province, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Times of London. The Library has these newspapers from their first issues to the current year. (Please note that the most recent four to six months of most newspapers are kept in paper form in the Current Journals area in the middle of the north side of the 6th floor.)

Microfilmed newspapers are duplications of the original print versions, photographed and arranged in their original published layout -- by date. To find newspaper articles by subject, you must use indexes. Many indexes are available online, while others are in paper form in the Reference Index area on the 2nd floor of the Bennett Library. Please ask at the Research Help Desk (3rd floor at the Bennett Library) for assistance.

Other important microfilm titles

British Columbia newspaper index. 1900-1990. 
The index is a copy of a card catalogue index maintained by the Provincial Library in Victoria. Under various subject headings are listed citations to individual newspaper articles, giving paper, date and pages. The index covers the Vancouver Sun, Province, and Victoria Daily Colonist.
Microforms Classified 
PN 02 12 
CanCorp documents service. 1990-1996. 
These microfiche contain the annual financial statements and reports (AFS) for companies registered with the Ontario Securities Commission and trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Filed chronologically by report year and sub-arranged by company name, they are accompanied by the Canadian corporate reports users' guide kept on top of the fiche cabinet.
Microforms Classified 
HG 044 22 
Human relations area files. 
HRAF on microfiche is a fully indexed collection of books, articles, and documents created to aid scholars in cross cultural research. These items are indexed by codes which are described in Outline of world cultures [index] and Outline of cultural materials [index] shelved on top of the fiche cabinet. (See also: eHRAF database.) 
Microforms Large Fiche
InfoTrac. 1980-1998
This is a collection of mainly American business and general magazines on micro-cassettes. Citations in this index are marked with the InfoTrac cartridge and frame numbers. To look up the correct cartridge and frame numbers for the article you need, use the journal title indexes found in the Reference Index area on the 2nd floor of the Bennett Library and next to the InfoTrac readers in the southwest corner of the 6th floor of the Bennett Library, and the Belzberg Reference Desk (SFU Vancouver).
Microforms 
Microlog. 1979- 
This comprehensive collection of Canada's federal, provincial and municipal government documents is indexed by the Canadian Research Index [online]. Also available in print form for 1986-1994.
Microforms Classified 
 

How is the collection organized?

The Microforms collection includes three types of microform:

  • Microfilm: rolls of film 16 mm or 35 mm wide
  • Microfiche: 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 inch sheets of film
  • Micro-cassette: microfilm tapes on cartridges

Microfilms

The microfilms are arranged in two sections:

Microforms Newspapers/Journals
Newspapers, Magazines & Journals in microfilm format arranged alphabetically by title (labeled in the map below).

Microforms Classified - Microfilm in call number order
Other types of publications (mostly government publications and theses) arranged by call number. The call numbers for microfilms always start with one or two letters, then "02", then more numbers. E.g., PN 02 12

Microfiches

Microfiche in the collection are all labeled as Microforms Classified in the SFU Library catalogue, but within that broad area they are further divided into two sections according to the original form of publication. These sections are further divided into subsections based on the size of the microfiche.

Microforms Classified -
Books, annual reports, theses, government documents, conference proceedings, etc.
Classification letters A-Z followed by size codes:
e.g., HG 04 = 3 x 5 inch fiche (Microforms Classified) or
HG 044 = 4 x 6 inch fiche (Microforms Classified)

Periodicals
Arranged alphabetically by title A-Z, sub-arranged by size of the fiche.
For example:
Microforms Small Fiche = 3 x 5 inch fiche
Microforms Large Fiche = 4 x 6 inch fiche

Micro-cassettes (InfoTrac)

The InfoTrac collection is the main micro-cassettecollection . The Library subscribed to the Business and General magazine modules until Sept. 1998. This is a collection of mainly American business and general magazines on micro-cassettes. Citations in this index are marked with the InfoTrac cartridge and frame numbers. To look up the correct cartridge and frame numbers for the article you need, use the journal title indexes -- found in the Reference Index area on the 2nd floor of the Bennett Library and next to the InfoTrac readers in the southwest corner of the 6th floor of the Bennett Library, and the Belzberg Reference Desk (SFU Vancouver).

How do I use them?

Special machines called readers or reader-printers are necessary to read each format. They are available in the northwest corner of the sixth floor. You can print from microfilm and microfiche using the same payment system as for other copiers and printers here in the Library. These machines are labeled with instructions for use and are similar to using regular copiers.

There are also microform scanners in the same area that will allow you to covert the microfilm and microfiche images to other formats (JPG, PDF etc.) and email or save them.

Ask staff in Interlibrary Loans for assistance with microforms between the hours of 9-4:30 Monday-Friday.

Map of the microforms area on the sixth floor