Monday, November 23, 2009

Microforms, Part II: Microfiche

In the first part of this series, microformats in general were described. The library has two types of microformats, microfilm and microfiche. This time the card version, microfiche, will be discussed. Microfiche is used at the library for two different types of information, magazines and government documents. A number of popular magazines are available in as microfiche, among them Business Week, Newsweek, New Yorker and Time. Because these titles publish so frequently (over 45 times a year), it would take a lot of shelf space to store the print versions of these magazines. So the decision was made to obtain the back issues on microfiche as it is small and easy to store. Microfiche issues reproduce the print versions exactly, with the pages containing all the stories and advertisements found in the paper issues. However, they are in black and white not in color. The microfiche copies of magazines are filed alphabetically by title and can be found in the back left hand corner of the mircroform room.

Much of the information that Hewes receives from the Federal Government as part of the Depository Library program also comes in on microfiche. These are stored in the filing cabinets facing you as you stand in the door of the microform room. How do you know if the government information you are looking for is on microfiche? From the catalog record. Let’s say you are looking in the library catalog for information on the impact agriculture has on wetlands. You may come across the following catalog entry, “Wetlands and agriculture, private interests and public benefit”. The listing states that this book can be found in government document microfiche on the main level with the call number “A 1.107:765” This type of number reflects the government filing system which is unlike the system the library uses to catalog its books and video materials.

Hewes library’s microfiche can be viewed on the readers found in the microform room. Prints of needed pages can also be made from the machines at a cost of 10¢ per page. As always, ask a librarian if you cannot find the information.

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