Definition: Microform is the generic term for books, periodicals, newspapers, documents, etc. which are recorded in miniaturized form on a strip of film (microfilm) or a small sheet of film (microfiche).
Purpose: microform collections have been the traditional way libraries acquire and store journal archives, newspaper archives and other specialist collections of resources. The advantages of microform :
- relatively inexpensive
- long preservation life; stable medium
- allows high density storage
- guaranteed long term ownership
The disadvantages of microform:
- the need for specialist facilities for storage, viewing, printing and USB reproduction
- poor usability compared with digital. Digital formats are normally preferred due to improved accessibility, searchability, usability and reduced space requirements
Preservation and archival quality of microform materials varies according to the type of film or fiche being utilized. The Library normally acquires "Silver halide" whenever possible: silver halide microfilm has an archival longevity of over one hundred years -- if properly stored and if protected from heat and dust. "Vesicular" or "Diazo" film or fiche are not normally preferred as they have a lesser life span. Holdings - The Library's Microform collections contain the following types of materials:
- Journal archives
- Newspaper archives
- Statistical resources
- Monograph collections
- Law reviews
- Specialist research collections
Locations: the Library's Microform collections are located as appropriate in either a campus library's microform collection, ADPML, SPC or low use storage depending upon the nature of the content.
Microform review and de-selection
Microform titles should be reviewed regularly for their continued relevance to the teaching, learning and research activities of the University (see Deselection(Weeding) Guidelines). Some microform content may also have been replaced by a digital version and therefore require a retention decision.
The review of microform titles for possible de-selection or transfer to CARM should be undertaken carefully and all recommendations for microform removal need to be referred to the Collection Advisory Group for consideration and approval.
Examples of the types of microform titles that may be approved for removal include:
- Research titles no longer relevant to the University's areas of research interest - these may be considered for transfer to low use storage or for possible relegation to the CARM storage centre.
- Commonly held titles with digital equivalents where archival preservation is not important.
- Small or patchy holdings that are no longer relevant to the teaching, learning or research interests of the University.
- Duplicate sets of microform titles.
Examples of the types of microform titles that will be retained even if a digital equivalent version is available:
- Expensive or extensive titles or collections that have been acquired to support current and long term research activities. In these cases, low usage is not an adequate indicator of future usefulness. E.g. Testament to the Holocaust.
- Extensive journal/newspaper runs or specialist collections that are untended for long term preservation. Eg. The Geelong Advertiser. In these cases, microform still has the advantage of low space requirements and longevity. Digital preservation is often not as secure as microform.
- Microform titles where the digital version is not the equivalent content of the microform.
- Microform holdings that fill an important gap in the total holdings of that title and where retention is still of relevance for teaching, learning or research. These holdings should be located in the campus library with the most print holdings.
- Large collections of titles whose removal may impact significantly on the Library's asset valuation and depreciation.
- Titles relevant to SPC or ADPML.