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A guide to library resources for History at the University of Essex

What are Microforms?

Microforms are scaled-down reproductions of documents - usually on microfilm (film reels) or microfiche (small flat sheets of film).  They were common in the past, before digitisation was possible, as they enabled access to rare and fragile materials from libraries and private collections around the world, including books, journals, newspapers, government documents, dissertations, manuscripts and ephemera.

How to find Microforms

The library has a large collection of microforms, many of which contain useful primary source material. The Guide to Microforms in the Albert Sloman Library, which you can download below, includes a complete list of all titles (divided by subject), but you can also use Library Search to find microforms by keyword. Printed guides are available for many of the larger microform sets to help you identify the reel(s)/sheet(s) you need - you can borrow these from the helpdesk on the ground floor of the library. Once you have identified the microform you would like to access, please ask any member of the helpdesk team to get it for you.

How to view Microforms

A digital microfilm scanner is available on floor 1, and a member of the library team can show you how to use it if you haven't used it before - just ask at the helpdesk on the ground floor. You can save your scanned document(s) either to your M drive or to a USB memory stick.