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Microform Reading Room (Humanities and Social Sciences Division)
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Searching for Microforms

Searching for microforms in the Library of Congress is similar to searching for items in print format. Microform materials and collections are included in the online, card, and printed book catalogs.

Searching for individual titles: Most individual titles in microform can be found in the Library's catalogs. Since individual titles in microform do not always receive full cataloging, subject searches are not always reliable. Keyword searches can be a good substitute. Some individual titles filmed before 1982 are listed only in the Microform Reading Room Card Catalog. Consult a reference librarian in the Jefferson Computer Catalog Center or in the Main Reading Room for help.

Searching for collections and individual items included in a collection: Searches in the online or card catalogs will yield microform collections and/or some individual items that are part of microform collections. Many individual items included in microform collections are not listed in the Library's catalogs. To find these items you first have to identify microform collections relevant to your research and then consult a guide to the collection's contents. A set of microform guides is available in the Main Reading Room's Reference Assistance Room. (In rare instances a collection may not have a guide, and it is necessary to browse the collection itself). To identify microform collections relevant to your research you can search the Library's online catalog. Title and/or title keyword searches are a good approach. Most microform collections have been given full cataloging. A list of most of the collections and the guides can be found in A Guide to the Microform Collections in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress. This guide is available for consultation in the Microform Reading Room, the Main Reading Room's Reference Assistance Room, and in various other locations. It is also available online via the Library's website. Information about microform collections and guides can also be found in the Library's online catalog by choosing the "Command Keyword" option and using the search term "microform" in combination with other search terms (e.g. "slave narratives" AND microform).

The staff of the Library has also prepared a number of special research guides which are available in the Microform Reading Room and in the Main Reading Room. The full text of some microform guides is available on the Library's website. In addition, many standard research tools include listings of microforms.

To make full use of the Library's microform collections, please consult a reference librarian.

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  August 9, 2011
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