University of Utah Library Guides
All University of Utah libraries course and research guides, in one place.

Main Guide

Commonly used boxes to be mapped onto any guide! Only your LibGuides admin will update links as they change. If you see a box/page that needs updating, please contact Tallie Casucci

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History of Microfilm

For some background on the history of microfilm, visit this online exhibition:

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Librarian Contact Info

Profile Photo
Alfred Mowdood
The University of Utah
J. Willard Marriott Library
Head of Faculty Services,
Representative, Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), and
Adjunct Assistant Professor in Kinesiology
295 South 1500 East #2110 R
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0860
(801) 585-7125

Pronouns: he/him/his

The Marriott Library has three machines available to the public that make it possible to read and to save digital images from microforms

  • Two of these machines are located on the south side of the Knowledge Commons on Level 2

  • One is in the Special Collections Reading Room on Level 4

Scanning Microfilm at the Marriott Library

Scanning Microfiche at the Marriott Library


Microform is a generic term that refers to materials, whether transparent or opaque, that require magnification in order to be read.  At the Marriott Library we use the term to refer to three different formats:  microfiche, microfilm and microopaque.  The principal attraction of microforms is their compact nature -- the full text of a 700-page book can be printed on a single sheet only three inches high and five inches wide.  Although that is an extreme example, you get the general idea -- microforms take up a lot less space than the same works printed on paper.  It shouldn't surprise you, then, to learn that the Marriott Library actually has more items in microform than it does in paper.

Our microform collection covers a wide variety of subjects, but the largest component consists of publications of various agencies of the federal government.


Most of the library's microfiche collection is located in cabinets at the south end of Level 2, at the beginning of the book stacks, and is self-serve (though we are happy to help you find what you need).  Most of the microfilm collection is housed in the ARC [Automated Retrieval Center], the library's on-site high-density storage facility, and each reel must be requested individually.  Once retrieved from the ARC (usually within 10 to 15 minutes) microfilm is delivered to the Reserve Desk on Level 2.  Most of the microopaque collection is also housed in the ARC.

If you need help with microforms, please contact the reference librarian on the second floor of the Knowledge Commons, or contact Robert Behra, who's contact info is on the left side of this page.


Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library