Accessibility statement



The University of York Library & Borthwick Institute for Archives has a large microform collection to help with your research.  Main subjects are parish records and probate collections, Southern African material, newspapers, British political history, women’s history and music collections.

Microform is material that contains a small image of a document. It is used to save space as thousands of pages of documents can be stored in this way. The most common forms are microfilm and microfiche.

  • Microfilm is a roll of film. 
  • Microfiche is a flat sheet of film. 

As the images are vastly reduced in size, a specialist reader/scanner device is used to magnify and view the microfilm / microfiche images.

Accessing microforms

The cabinets containing the Library’s microfilm and microfiche collections are located in the Borthwick and Burton Library.  You can search for all titles and locations in the collection in YorSearch. Choose Microform under ‘Resource Type’ on the right hand menu.

Access to Microfilm readers during the Borthwick's staffed hours is by appointment only. For details on how to book an appointment see here.  At all other times, access is self-service.

Microfilms from the Centre for Southern African Studies (CSAS) would need to be pre-ordered as part of a booked appointment as they are kept in our strongrooms rather than on open access in the microform room. 

There are digital readers suitable for microfilm and microfiche where you can bring your own USB stick and take copies of images subject to copyright. 

Help using microforms

A guide to how to use the Microfilm readers can be found in the Microform room. If you encounter any difficulties, please ask a member of staff for assistance.

Finding aids

Printed finding aids or guides are available for most of our collections and can be found in the Microform room. 

Finding aids for some of the archives are available to download here.

Further information

There are specific microfilm collections listed within the Subject Guides where you will find information about materials relevant to your department.