Colgate University Libraries Collection Development Policy for Microforms


Microforms are frequently specified as advantageous in terms of cost, storage, and staff time for processing. Problems such as flexibility of use, maintenance of materials, and dependence on adequately supervised and maintained equipment for reading also need to be considered in weighing the merits of hard copy to microform. In general, microfilm will not be purchased when the same material is available in digital form and where this is a license for perpetual access (e.g., JSTOR).

Materials with the following characteristics would be preferable in the microform edition:

Physical aspects: Materials that use an abnormal amount of shelf space, as in the case of periodicals with several volumes of output each year; odd-sized volumes that are inconvenient to use, whether large or cumbersome or very small and easily lost; and works in a format that precludes binding and yet are difficult to maintain unbound.

Permanency: Materials subject to mutilation or theft or materials subject to rapid deterioration (i.e., newspapers and some popular periodicals).

Cost: Materials that would otherwise be unobtainable due to their extremely high cost and/or rarity and materials where the cost of binding alone would exceed the price of the film.

Materials with the following characteristics would be preferable in hard copy:

Usage: Materials used for browsing, cover-to-cover reading ,or intensive reading by many people. Also reference works, abstracts, and indexes where quick access to specific parts of the work is required or where there is continual referral from index to content, as in the case of abstracts.

Physical aspects: Materials with copious illustrations that do not reproduce well on microform; materials with color illustrations in which color is important, such as art journals or journals with color-coded graphs; and materials that are obtained in hardbound and do not require binding.

Availability: Hard copy available at minimal cost, such as in the case of gifts or lot purchases.