Skip to main content

Microforms, Government Documents, and Maps @ Pitt: Home

This is a guide for finding and using the microform, government document, and map collections located in Hillman Library.

What are Microforms?

Microforms are made of either film or paper and contain reproductions of documents too small to be seen by the human eye.


(35mm and 16mm reels of film)


(small sheets of film)

Microprint (also called Microopaque)

(large paper sheets)


(small paper sheets)

Why Do We Use Microforms?

In the mid-20th century, libraries and archives began using microforms as a way to preserve decaying newspaper collections. Deteriorating books and newspapers were preserved on film in order to maintain accessibility and use.

There are still many advantages to microforms today:

  • Microforms are compact and inexpensive, allowing libraries to expand collections, while reducing storage and other costs.
  • When produced properly, microforms have a life expectancy of up to 500 years and are easy to maintain.
  • Access to rare, valuable, or fragile items is enabled and there are very few incidents of microform theft.

Location and Hours

The microforms collection is located on the ground floor of Hillman Library in room G22. The gov. docs. are located in the compact shelves on the ground floor of Hillman Library and the maps collections are located near the compact shelves. Staff in G22 are available to assist users of microforms, gov. docs. and maps.




Mon.- Thur.  8:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Saturday  12 p.m - 8:30 p.m.
Sunday  12 p.m - 8:30 p.m.


For additional library hours click here.