I am writing a research paper and need to access some data that was collected by someone long deceased. The university library that has this data is in another country, and has the data on microfilm. The data contained in the microfilm is a manuscript (not sure if that’s helpful).

  • How would something like this normally be handled for researchers who cannot visit the country in which the microfilm is held?

  • Is this a common issue for researchers?

  • Can microfilm be duplicated and sent over somehow, perhaps to another library?

  • 4
    Have you tried contacting the library that has the microfilm to see if there are any options?
    – Jan Gorzny
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 4:02
  • 6
    Go into your library and ask the librarian Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 4:26

1 Answer 1


You should file an interlibrary loan at your home library. The ILL librarian will contact the lending library and come up with a solution.

A common scenario is that the lending library will scan in the applicable section and send you a PDF, or they may just mail your library the film on loan. (In times past, they would print out the section and mail you the pages.) If the film is valuable, they may restrict it to library use only. It is possible to copy a microfilm though I suspect that people these days will digitize it instead.

It would be helpful to talk to the ILL librarian after you file a request to they know exactly what sections/pages to get you or whether you want the whole film.

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