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How Do I Use Microform Equipment

Quick tutorial on using the microform (microfilm / microfiche) scanners, courtesy of University of Victoria Libraries, provided under a Creative Commons Attribution.

Looking for Newspapers / Articles?

Are you looking for newspapers or news articles in microformat? See our newspaper guide for information about our newspaper collection.


Bibliotheca Schelfe

Fun and informative information about Government Documents and the Thompson Library Microforms collections.

Thompson microforms status

OSU Libraries are open.  Masks are required within Thompson Library.  Please comply with all posted protocols.  Check to get the latest information on OSUL’s hours and COVID-19 protocols.  Need assistance with microforms or if you have questions concerning OSUL's microform collections and/or equipment please contact Mary Ann Ries ( via email.  Office hours Monday thru Thursday 8 am-4 pm, and Friday afternoons by prior appointment only.

What are Microforms?


Microform is a general term for an item, cardboard or film containing miniaturized images of the original document. For example, one microform can contain a whole year's worth of newspapers — or more! Specialized equipment must be used to view or copy items from a microform.

Picture of different microform types.

The two most common types are microfiche (thin sheets containing multiple images per sheet) and microfilm (reels of film containing multiple images). The third form is microopaques (microcard and microprint) which are similar to microfiche, except on cardboard.

Ohio State University Libraries Collection

The Ohio State University Libraries microform collection contains over 3.4 million microfiche and 64 thousand microfilm reels with about 20% of it being housed in the Microform Reading Room - room 215 Thompson. The collection includes newspapers and periodicals, as well as statistical data, government reports, standards, etc. Check out highlights of OSU Libraries collection to see some of the more interesting items we have available.

Viewing Equipment

Equipment for viewing microforms, as well as recent newspapers and a portion of the microform collection is located in the Microform Reading Room, in Room 215 on the second floor of Thompson Library. The YouTube video "Using the Microform Scanner" will give you a quick tutorial on how to use the equipment in the Microform Reading Room. Microforms housed in remote storage at our Depository can generally be retrieved within 24 hours of request.

Hours and Availability

The Microform Reading Room is open whenever Thompson Library is, however staff assistance is only available from 8 am - 4 pm Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in room 211. Assistance outside those hours is provided by Reference, and when Reference is not available from Circulation. During the summer and breaks, please call ahead to inquire about hours, staff availability, etc. The equipment is available on a first come, first served basis, and is password protected.  OSU faculty, staff and student can gain assess via their name.number/password.  Visitors will need to stop at Circulation and get a "Guest pass" in order to use the equipment.  Microform users have priority.  If others are waiting to use the equipment, there is a one hour time limit.

Need Help With Microforms?

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Mary Ries
Microforms and Government Information
Thompson Library room 211
The Ohio State University
1858 Neil Avenue Mall
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1285
(614) 688-8770

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