Microform Collection

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Reference Department
Central Reading Room, Frank Melville Jr. Library

About the Microform Collection

Microforms are greatly reduced photographs of newspapers, journals, books, magazines, government documents and miscellaneous unpublished research. With the appropriate equipment, the reduced text can be enlarged for reading. The types of microform in the collection include microfilm, micro card, microprint, microfiche, and ultra fiche.

The microform collections at USB exceed the size of the Library's book collections in terms of volumes and occupy nearly 4 million rolls of film. The materials include selected newspapers (current and past, foreign and domestic), magazines and journals, U.S., U.N., and foreign government publications, U.S. and foreign census materials, manuscripts, dissertations, archival materials, anthropological studies, educational research reports and large collections of older American and European books and plays.

Many titles on microform are listed in STARS, but the detailed descriptions of microfilm collections are usually not catalogued. New digitized indexing systems may correct that. Those details are now often found in other indexes and bibliographies available in the Reference and Microforms areas. Staff can assist users in identifying needed materials and in locating them.

Equipment includes readers, reader-printers (for making copies), and the Indus opaque microprint/card reader. Enlarged copies of microforms cost ten cents per page. A change machine is located nearby. Staff can usually assist with the use of equipment.

Selected Newspapers and Periodicals

Chicago Tribune (1847-1994) (and index 1972-1994)
History (Women's Liberation Periodical Collection)
Life Magazine (1936-1957)
Ms. Magazine (1972- )
New York Times (1851- ) (and index 1851- )
Newsday (Suffolk ed.) (1944- )
Times (London) (1788- )
Underground Newspaper Collection (1965- )
Wall Street Journal (1899- ) (and index 1958- )
Washington Post (1931-33, 1954- ) (and index 1972- )

20th Century Publications

Columbia University Oral History Collection
Cornell University Collection of Women's Rights Pamphlets
Human Relations Area Files (HRAF--Cultural Anthropology)
International Collection of Social and Economic Development Plans (1945- )
International Population Census Publications (1945- )
Resources in Education file (ERIC documents on microfiche)
United Nations Documents and Official Records (1946- )
U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs

19th Century Publications

American Culture Series
American Periodical Series
British Sessional Papers
Early American Books (1801-1819)
English and American Drama of the 19th Century
Nassau and Suffolk Counties Decennial Census Reports
Oberlin College Anti-Slavery Collection
U.S. Presidential Papers

Pre-19th Century Publications

Early American Imprints (1639-1800)
Early American Newspapers
Early English Books (1475-1700)
German, French, and Spanish Drama Collections
Three Centuries of English and American Plays

Printed Guides to the Collections

 The major guide to the microform collections at Stony Brook is Jon Hufford's Microform Holdings: A Select List (.doc), located in the Central Reading Room, at the Reference Desk and in the Microforms Library, call number Z1033.M5 H84 1990). This compilation has summaries and explanations of nearly all the major titles, and has subject, keyword, and title indexes.

Other guides and indexes to the collection have been written or designed by the microfilm publishers or by Library staff and are available at the Reference Desk in the Central Reading Room. These include:

  • Newspaper Geographical Card File
  • Union List of Microform Collections in Nassau and Suffolk County Libraries (Micro and Ref Z1033.M5 F4)
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