Finding Aid Contents
- Finding Reports Online
- Cabinet Summaries
- Online Indexes
- About Call Numbers
- Scanning Microforms
- Cabinet Navigator
What is a microform?
A microform is a document that has been reduced in size to a notecard-sized film plate (microfiche) or a roll of film (microfilm). This once was a common publishing technique for U.S. Government publications. We have special readers and scanners for these materials.
We have over 350,000 documents in 18 cabinets that have been reproduced as microfilm or microfiche for high-efficiency storage. They can be viewed and scanned using the scanner located adjacent to the collection in room 206 of Walter Library. Most of these documents are published by the U.S. Government (sent to us as a regional holder of scientific and technical government information), and many of them have been reproduced online.
Many of the documents in our collection have been scanned and placed online, and many more are searchable (abstract/citation only) in various report databases. See Finding Reports Online. For convenience, you will find a list of the primary online databases below:
MNCAT library catalog
Use the MNCAT catalog to search individual items in our Microform Collection, though note that two of our microfiche collections are uncataloged: NACA Technical Publications and Department of Energy Contractor Reports and Publications (E 1.99). You will find links to Hathi Trust in MNCAT when one of our document titles match a full text document in Hathi Trust. (Where are those links?)
Science.gov will search numerous US Government indexes and document repositories simultaneously. Use this search engine first to locate PDFs and abstracts of US Government scientific and technical information.
HathiTrust contains many government technical reports that have been digitized, though in most cases, you won't need to search Hathi Trust directly. You'll find links to Hathi Trust in MNCAT when one of our document titles match a full text document in Hathi Trust. (Where are those links?)
The US Office of Scientific & Technical Information (OSTI) website is an excellent companion resource to our large Department of Energy microfiche collection (cabinets F through O). Approximately 30% of our DOE microfiche can be found in PDF form at this site. Science.gov will also pull results from OSTI.gov, but OSTI.gov has additional search features not found in Science.gov.
NASA Technical Reports Server
Remarkably, the NTRS Technical Reports Server keeps about 85% of our NASA and NACA microfiche (cabinets 5-6) in PDF format. Science.gov will pull results from NTRS, but NTRS offers additional search capability, and it also has the NIX images database. (Have you ever seen the earth rise over the lunar surface?)
USGS Publications Warehouse
The USGS Publications Warehouse keeps approximately 67% of our USGS microfiche (cabinet D) in PDF format. Science.gov will pull results from USGS Pub Warehouse, but you'll find additional search functions here that you won't find in Science.gov.
TRAIL Digitization Project
In recent years, the Greater Western Library Alliance has collected government documents to be digitized and made freely available to the public. For scientific and technical information, they have collected documents from the National Bureau of Standards (cabinet D), US Bureau of Mines (cabinet D), Atomic Energy Commission, US Bureau of Reclamation Office of Saline Waters, and the Manhattan District Classification Code. Some series are already available online. Many — if not all — of these technical reports have been sent to the HathiTrust Digital Library.
Learn more about Online Indexes and Databases