Serials have been issued in microformats for many years.  Current cataloging rules and policies vary depending on whether the serial is originally issued in microform or whether it is a reproduction of a previously existing item.  AACR2 calls for both reproduction and original microforms to be cataloged in the same manner with the description based on the microform.  For reproductions, however, the Library of Congress and many other libraries follow the policy expressed in LCRI Chapter 11 which calls for the description to be based on the original item, with details of the microform added in a note.  In addition to the differences in cataloging policies, institutional practices regarding reproduction microforms also vary, with some providing full cataloging, and others recording microforms only at the holdings level.

The most commonly used microforms today are microfilm and microfiche.  Microfilm consists of rolls in which microimages (i.e., pages) appear in a linear array.  Microfiche consists of sheets with microimages arrayed in a grid.  Other types of microforms used in the past include aperture cards and microopaques.  Only microfilm and microfiche are covered in this module.

This module covers the cataloging of both original and reproduction microfilm and microfiche.  It also discusses the differences between describing reproductions produced commercially and those produced through preservation programs.  The problems and proposed solutions to the cataloging of items in multiple physical formats, or "multiple versions," are also briefly addressed.

This module will discuss

How to distinguish original from reproduction microforms

How to catalog original microforms

Methods for cataloging reproduction microforms

How the cataloging of commercial microform reproductions differs from the cataloging of preservation microforms

A brief history of "multiple versions"

Special problems associated with the cataloging of microforms



Chapter 11 / Chapter 11


Appendix M

Fields 007 (Microforms) , 533 , 539 , 776


Part 1.

Part 2., Module 22

Additional Resources

Cataloging Service Bulletin. No. 14 (fall 1981), no. 37 (summer 1987).  Washington : Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress. (CSB)

Graham, Crystal.  Guidelines for Bibliographic Records for Preservation Microform Masters.  Association of Research Libraries, 1990.  (ARL guidelines)

Guidelines for Bibliographic Description of Reproductions.  Prepared by a task force of the American Library Association's ALCTS/CCS Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access, 1993. (CC:DA guidelines)

OCLC Guide to Preservation Data.  Dublin, Ohio, 1991  (OCLC)

Multiple Versions Forum (Airlie, Va. : Dec. 5-8, 1989).  Report from the Multiple Versions Forum.  Washington : Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress, 1990.

Preservation Microfilming: A Guide for Libraries and Archivists.  Edited by Nancy E. Gwinn for the Association of Research Libraries.  Chicago: American Library Association, 1987.  (Gwinn)

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data , Including Guidelines for Content Designation.  Prepared by Network Development and MARC Standards Office.  Washington: Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress.  (MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Definitions of terms used in this module

Acetate film:  Safety film with a base composed principally of cellulose acetate or triacetate.  (Gwinn)

Announcing a commitment to preserve  An OCLC technique through which a minimal level bibliographic record is created to queue future preservation action.  After the preservation action is completed, the minimal-level record is upgraded to the full level.  (OCLC)

Aperture card:  A card with one or more rectangular opening(s), or aperture(s), specifically prepared for the mounting or insertion of a piece of photographic film containing one or more microimage(s).  The cards are usually EAM (Electrical Accounting Machine) punched cards, commonly known as IBM cards, that are standardized for use in card-handling machines.  Such cards contain only one aperture and most frequently have only one microimage.  (MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Base:  A transparent plastic material, usually of cellulose triacetate or polyester, upon which a photographic emulsion or other material may be coated.  (Gwinn)

Cloning:  The process of using an online bibliographic record for either the hard copy or another microform version to create a new bibliographic record for the reproduction microform of the same serial.  (CCM)

Commercial microform:  A microform that is created and sold by a micropublisher.  Commercial microforms are service copies; the micropublisher may or may not hold the master negative.  (CCM)

Computer-output microform (COM):  Any microform on which human-readable data are recorded directly from digital data by a computer without a printout as the intermediary.  (Gwinn, edited)

Diazo film:  The emulsion consists of sensitized layers composed of diazonium salts that react with couplers to form dye images.  The color of the image is determined by the composition of the diazonium compound as well as the couplers used in the process and may be black, violet, or another color.  (MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Emulsion:  A single or multilayered coating consisting of light-sensitive materials in a medium carried as a thin layer on a film base.  (Gwinn)

General material designation (GMD):  A term indicating the broad class of material to which an item belongs (e.g., Microform)  (AACR2)  MARC 21 Bibliographic refers to the GMD as the "Medium."

Generation:  One of the successive stages of photographic reproductions.  Preservation master negative is the film actually used in the camera and is often referred to as the camera negative or the first-generation film.  In some standards, it is called the film storage copy.  Ideally it would only be used once, to generate a second master negative, known as the printing master or a second-generation or intermediate film.  (It is a "direct dupe" in micrographics jargon.)  The copy to be used by readers is known as the third generation, service copy, distribution copy, or work copy.  (Gwinn, p. 117, 140, 191)

Hard copy:  Any volume, document, or other material printed on paper.  (Gwinn)
Also called the "original item."  

Header (microform):  The eye-readable portion at the top of microfiche, usually containing the title and an indication of the contents of each sheet.  (CCM)

Master:  A microform from which duplicates or intermediates can be made.  (Gwinn)

Master negative:  Any film, but generally the camera microfilm, used to produce further reproductions, such as intermediaries, distribution copies, or service copies.  (Gwinn)

Microfiche:  A sheet of film bearing a number of microimages in a two-dimensional array.  (AACR2)
A transparent sheet of photographic film containing microimages arranged in a grid pattern (a two-dimensional array) and having a heading that contains identifying information in text that is large enough to be read without magnification.  
(MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Microfilm:  A length of film bearing a number of microimages in linear array.  (AACR2)
Long strips of photographic film that are mounted on reels, in cartridges, and in cassettes.  The strips of film together with the containers that house them are called, respectively, microfilm reels, microfilm cartridges, and microfilm cassettes.  
(MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Microform:  A generic term for any medium, transparent or opaque, bearing microimages.  (AACR2)
microimage is a unit (e.g., a page) of textual, graphic, or computer-generated material that is contained on aperture cards, microfiche, microfilm, microopaques, or other microformats and that is too small to be read without magnification.  Microforms may be reproductions of existing textual or graphic materials or they may be original publications.  (MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Microform set:  Bibliographically separate titles that are collected under a set title, in microfilm or microfiche.  The set may be finite or ongoing.  The individual titles may be monographs, serials, or a combination of both.  (CCM)

Microopaque:  A sheet of opaque material bearing a number of microimages in a two- dimensional array.  (AACR2)
Microopaques resemble microfiche and usually have identifying information in text that is large enough to read without magnification.  
(MARC 21 Bibliographic)

Microproducer:  A body that produces microforms for bodies, such as a universities.  The microproducer may be compared to a printer of printed publications.  (CEG)

Micropublication:  See Original microform.

Micropublisher:  A publisher that is responsible for both publishing and producing a microform.  A micropublisher may be compared to a commercial publisher for printed publications.  (CEG)

Multiple versions:  Publications that are identical in content but different in physical format.  (CCM)

Nitrate film:  Photographic film with a film base composed principally of cellulose nitrate.  Because nitrate film is highly flammable, it has largely been replaced by acetate film.  (Gwinn)

Original microform:  A microform that is first issued in microform (usually microfiche), rather than being reproduced from an existing publication.  Original microforms are also referred to as micropublications.  (CCM)

Polarity:  The dark to light relationship of an image.  A negative has light images on a dark background; a positive has dark images on a light background.  (Gwinn, edited)

Preservation master:  A first-generation or camera microfilm produced according to archival standards and stored under archival conditions.  It is generally used only to produce printing masters.  (Gwinn)
Current preservation standards are:  film stock (ANSI IT9.1-1988), production (ANSI AIIM MS23), enclosures (ANSI IT9.2-1989) and storage (ANSI PH1.43-1983).  (
ARL guidelines, slightly rev.)

Printing master:  A negative that has been produced expressly for the purpose of making additional copies.  (Gwinn)

Prospective cataloging:  A technique for recording preservation data whereby a full-level bibliographic record is created for a microform or preservation photocopy in advance of the actual filming or photocopying being completed.  (OCLC)

Queue:  An announcement that preservation of an item will occur at some future time.  (OCLC)

Reduction ratio:  The relationship (ratio) between the dimensions of the original and the corresponding dimensions of the microimage; e.g., reduction ratio is expressed as 1:24.  (Gwinn, edited)

Reproduction:  A microform containing a work that has a bibliographic and/or physical identity which pre-exists that of the microform.  (CSB)
An item that is a copy of another item and is intended to function as a substitute for that item.  The copy may be in a different physical format from the original.  Reproduction is a mechanical rather than an intellectual process.  Due to the particular mechanical process used to create it, physical characteristics of the reproduction, such as color, image resolution, or sound fidelity may differ from those of the original.  Reproductions are usually made for such reasons as the original's limited availability, remote location, poor condition, high cost, or restricted utility.  
(CC:DA guidelines)

Service copy:  A microform copy which is distributed for end use.  (Gwinn)

Silver film:  A film which is sensitized with silver halide (a compound of silver and one of the following elements known as halogens: chlorine, bromine, iodine, and fluorine).  Silver film is considered by many to be the only film suitable for archival purposes.  (Gwinn)

Specific material designation (SMD):  A term indicating the special class of material (usually the class of physical object) to which an item belongs (e.g., microfiche, microfilm).  (AACR2)

Target:  An aid to technical or bibliographical control that is photographed on the film preceding or following the document.  (Gwinn)  The target is considered part of the microform product.

Title frame:  A frame containing written or printed material not part of the subject content of the item.  (AACR2)

Vesicular film:  A film in which the light-sensitive component is suspended in a plastic layer.  On exposure, the component creates optical vesicle (bubbles) in the layer.  These bubbles form the latent image.  The latent image becomes visible and fixed by heating the plastic layer and then allowing it to cool.  Vesicular films are commonly blue or beige in color.  They do not appear to have much contrast (very high density) until projected in a microfilm reader.  (MARC 21 Bibliographic)

See also:

Module 32.  Microform Serials