This guide provides a basic introduction to finding microforms in the Pritzker Legal Research Center. Please see the library staff if you need additional help with microform materials.
Microform describes formats for storing photographically reduced images on to plastic film. Microfiche and microfilm are two types of microforms. A microform reader/printer is required to read or copy microforms onto paper.
Microfiche and Microfilm
Microfiche is photographically reduced images reproduced on a small 3X5 sheet of film. The fiche is inserted into a glass plate on a reader. Microfilm is photographically reduced images of printed pages on 16mm or 35mm film. The film is wrapped around a reel and must be mounted on a spool on the reader and unwound before use.
What Kind of Microform Materials is Available?
The Law Library has collections of legal newspapers, U.S. Supreme Court briefs, superseded state statutes, bar journals, and many other specialized resources available in either microfilm or microfiche.
Searching for Microform Titles
All of microfilm and microfiche materials are listed in NUcat. There are various methods used for searching microform materials on NUcat: author, title, subject, journal title, and guided keyword. If an exact title is not known it may be best to start with a guided keyword search for those words that are most likely to be a part of the record for the material.
The Law Library's microform collection and user-friendly equipment are located in the Government Documents Room, L330 and L336. There are charts in the Government Documents Room that specify the location of microfiche and/or microfilm.
Printing Microform Materials
Paper copies of microform documents can be made for 10 cents per page. There are 3 reader/printers available. To note, the Minolta 603Z is designed to print copies of both fiche and film and accepts dimes and nickels. There are 2 Canon Digital reader/printers that print to networked printers and that accept vending or NU Wildcards for payment. Please see the Government Documents staff if you have any questions on how to use the equipment.
Portable Microform Equipment
Portable "briefcase" microform equipment can be loaned out to Northwestern Law School Faculty and Students. Faculty can charge the equipment out for 24 hours for use in their offices, and students can charge the equipment out during library hours only for use in their study carrels.