What are microforms and how do I access them?

What is microfilm?

Microfilm is a 35 mm film with microscopic photographs of pages of books, newspapers, documents, etc., to allow compact storage. A special reader which enlarges the print is necessary to read the film.

Microform is the general, catch-all term for:

  • Microfilm: rolls of film 16mm or 35mm wide.
  • Microfiche: 3x5 or 4x6 inch sheets of film
  • Microcassette: microfilm tapes on cartridges
  • Microcard: miniaturized text printed on an opaque paper card. It is also called Evans fiche.

Where can I read or view microfilm?

The Microform area of the 6th floor at SFU Burnaby's W.A.C. Bennett Library has a reader/scanner which will make digital copies of film and fiche.

SFU Vancouver's Belzberg Library has microform reader for students and staff to use with microforms requested from SFU Burnaby. To request delivery of microforms to Belzberg Library, click the "Interlibrary Loans" button next to Get It on the catalogue record for the item you seek and enter your information.

SFU Surrey's Fraser Library does not have a microform collection or microform reader/printer.

For more information, please see  Microforms Collection.

Does the Library have a microform scanner?

The Library has two digital microform scanners in the Microforms Area of the W.A.C Bennett Library, at SFU Burnaby. These machines can save images in a variety of formats including PDF, TIFF, JPG and BMP. You can save scans to a memory stick or to your SFU file space. Scanned images can also be sent to a public network printer.

Where can I make paper copies from microfiche or microfilm?

Copiers are included in most of the microfiche and microfilm readers; you use your online Papercut account that you use for photocopying and printing.

For a detailed list of SFU Library's print/copy pricing (including printing from microfilm), see  How much does it cost to print or make copies at the SFU Library?

Does the SFU Library have a microcard reader?

Yes, there is a microcard reader with print capabilities in the Microforms Area of the W.A.C Bennett Library, at SFU Burnaby. This reader is used only for opaque mircrocard formats, such as the Evans fiche. There is no charge for printing from the microcard reader.

Getting help & magnifying the print

Ask staff in Interlibrary Loans for assistance with using microforms equipment between the hours of 9-4:00 Monday-Friday.