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Michigan State University

Africana Microform at MSU Libraries: Microfilm Basics

A guide for microfilm resources about Africa.

The who, what, where, when, and how of microform

What is microform?

Microform is a type of film that contains micro-photographs of documents, like newspapers. Microform materials are divided in different microfilm, which come in reels, and microfiche, which come in sheets. 

Who uses microform?

As microform materials are often primary sources,  they are usually used for research. Microforms are used heavily by faculty and graduate students, particularly historians, but they are also used by a wider array of disciplines and by undergraduates conducting research projects. 

When can you access microform?

You can access the Microform Library any time the Hollander MakeCentral Service Desk is open. The operating hours can be found here

Where is microform at MSU Libraries located?

The Microforms Library at MSU is located in the MakeCentral on 2 West in the Main Library. Digital microreaders, which allow users to read and save the microfilmed images, are available here. Users can save scanned images to a CD or removable drive at no charge, and pages can be printed at a cost.

All microforms in the main circulating collection are housed in the Libraries' Remote Storage facility. Requested microforms and those on hold for a user or course reserve will then be available in the MakeCentral, after being brought from Remote Storage. 

Note that some microform is housed in Special Collections and can only be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room. This distinction will be clear on the catalog record. 

How do you request microforms?

Microforms can be found in lists created by subject specialists (like the lists in this guide), as well as in the regular catalog. An advanced search allows you to narrow by topic and location (specify: MSU Microforms, 2 West, under "Location"). 

To order microform, please send an email to The film will be delivered to the Hollander MakeCental Service Desk within one business day. Patrons will receive an email once the film is in the building for their use.