Tips and tricks on how to use a microform reader

Numerous documents belonging to Library and Archives Canada’s collection have been copied to microfiche and microfilm (some of which are available via AMICUS, and others via self-service at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa). First-time researchers may find the equipment required to view this material somewhat confusing.

Therefore, we have prepared a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts to guide you in the proper use and handling of these machines so that your research may be profitable.

DO’s:

  • Prepare ahead of time for your visit and order material in advance, if necessary. To learn how, please consult our previous blog article: “The Top Five Things You Need to Know Before You Visit”.
  • Retrieve your microfilm from the Consultation Reading Room shelves, which are organized by the first letter of your surname, or retrieve self-serve microfilm from the Consultation Reading Room microfilm drawers.
  • Sign in with the Consultation staff in the Microfilm Reading Room for access to a microform reader.
  • Ask the Consultation Staff for assistance if you require help loading the microform onto the readers.
  • Bring your own flash drive or CD/DVD to save digital copies of the material. Printed copies may also be purchased using a copy card, available at the Consultation Office.
  • When making digital scans from microform, please complete a “photo permission” form (used primarily for statistical purposes).
  • Be aware that making copies from microform (either on paper or as digital images) can only be done during service hours.
  • Place the self-serve microfilm reels on the return shelf, located behind the Consultation staff’s desk (in the Microfilm Reading Room) when you are finished with them.
  • Return published microform (that is, the ones you have ordered via AMICUS), to the Published Material return shelf located near the Consultation Office.
  • Consult the Special Collections staff for access to the National Map Collection (NMC) microfiche.

DON’Ts:

  • Don’t place self-serve microfilm reels in your locker. When self-serve microfilm reels are not being used, they must be available for other clients.
  • Don’t disobey the Copyright Act by making digital copies of newspapers less than 100 years old. For more information, please consult the rules posted by each photocopier.
  • Don’t leave microfilm reels at your work station or on top of cabinets.

For more details, be sure to ask our on-site Consultation staff. They are ready to answer any additional questions you may have.

Happy research!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

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