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Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Provide feedback and pose questions concerning microfiche dissemination programs managed by the Superintendent of Documents.

Moderators: cetkin, Laurie

Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby Laurie on June 28th, 2013, 12:15 pm

Provide feedback and pose questions concerning microfiche dissemination programs managed by the Superintendent of Documents here. Read more about the future of microfiche distribution, download a handout framing this issue, and check back for additional updates on FDLP's project page entitled Determining the Future of Microfiche Distribution
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby lsmith on July 15th, 2013, 5:20 pm

As a selective, the elimination of microfiche distribution wouldn't upset us at all.

We've been deselecting microfiche in favor of online access for the last three or four years. Our patrons, for the most part, won't touch microfiche with a ten-foot pole. Printing from microfiche has become more difficult for the general public since our last coin-operated reader/printer was eliminated many years ago. Our current microform scanners require non-students to purchase a print card on another floor to pay for prints. (They can save scanned pages to a flash drive, but community patrons rarely have a flash drive with them.)

We're also weeding our depository fiche quite heavily.

On the other hand, I only feel free to weed my collection because we have a regional library nearby. I think regionals do need to have an archival-quality copy of each document, and thus far neither fiche nor online seems to meet that criteria. (Although, we've certainly been very happy to have our ERIC microfiche since the online content was taken down.) If regionals don't get each document in a physical format, they should at least get a digital copy they can control. So, perhaps digital distribution should replace microfiche distribution.
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby olywaguy on July 15th, 2013, 6:10 pm

It is true that most patrons are a little intimidated by using microfiche but once you show them how to use the machines, they like using them and become fairly proficient at it especially if the microform reader has the capability to make digital copies (ours does) that can be saved on a slip drive.

However, if manufacturers of fiche and fiche machines and supplies are closing down then I can see why GPO has to consider discontinuing the format.

There is no doubt that the format made it possible for libraries to save space and which may have been responsible for libraries to continue as depositories.

If microfiche should be discontinued, please be sure to end the last issue of the titles at the end of a calendar year like December 31, 2014 or at the end of a volume. I really hate it when a title is discontinued in the middle of a year.
Carlos A. Diaz
Government Publications,Maps, and Microforms
James E. Brooks Library
Central Washington University
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby bselby on July 23rd, 2013, 3:46 pm

I can just about guarantee you that if GPO is forced to discontinue microfiche distribution many regionals will drop regional status. There is NO way our library could possibly receive and retain all the hearings (think Appropriations), CFR, Federal Register in print format. We'd be forced to drop our regional status, and I'd bet others would as well.

"Determining the Future of Microfiche Distribution" does a good job of laying out the issues. However, it often refers to the fact that most of what's distributed on fiche is also available in FDSys. But, this doesn't do regionals any good at all until the LAW IS CHANGED. And, to be honest, I would rather know that back issues of the FR and CRF were archived in microfiche format than that they are available on FDSys. I do believe that fiche is a more durable and permanent format than the FDSys version.

Barbie Selby
University of Virginia Library
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby corthalf on July 25th, 2013, 5:34 pm

The summary document, Determining the Future of Microfiche Distribution, leaves out some very relevant statistical information that would illustrate a very real issue not noted in the document -- Regionals that opted for microfiche over paper as the long-term tangible preservation copy cannot easily return to paper distribution.

The document statement, “A decline in the number of libraries selecting microfiche” is overly generalized and misleading since it does not distinguish by type of depository. My assumption is that “selectives” have significantly declined selection of microfiche and paper because selectives have online only as an option. However, “regionals” do not have online only as an option.“Regionals” may have increasingly opted to select microfiche instead of paper.

To test this hypothesis, I ask that GPO pull together item selection statistics for the noted titles by format (paper, microfiche, electronic, or none of the above) distinguished by library type (regional or selective) for the last 20 years.

Note, however, the item selection statistics will only show what was selected and not what has been retained. A survey of library holdings would be needed to determine when paper has been withdrawn in lieu of electronic access (selectives) or in lieu of other tangible formats, i.e. microfiche (regionals).
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby sudduthw on July 26th, 2013, 2:33 pm

I find it interesting that we defending the much maligned microfiche format. A format that many of our users will avoid. A format that has it's own very limited shelf life particularly given the quality of the microfiche we have received in the past and will continue to receive in the future.

I see this as an opportunity to move to the format of preference of our users (electronic).

It is also an opportunity for GPO to step-up and guarantee that the core titles that are distributed in electronic format are authentic and authoritative sources and thus a reliable substitute for paper.

As a regional I would like the opportunity to continue receiving my Congressional Record and Serial Set in paper, these are titles my library is willing to make space.

Bill Sudduth
University of South Carolina
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby sandee on July 29th, 2013, 11:13 am

While no one likes fiche, we have resorted to selecting only fiche for some prolific legislative (Daily Congressional Record, committee calendars, House and Senate Journals) and regulatory (Federal Register, CFR) sets. The only way we could give up fiche is if GPO would allow us to substitute electronic for tangible, but, as a Regional, Title 44 does not currently allow us to make that substitution. However, we absolutely can’t go back to paper for these large sets.

I agree with Barbie that the disappearance of fiche from the depository system as a selection option will spell the demise of more than one Regional depository.

Sandra McAninch, Regional Depository Librarian, Univ. of Kentucky Libraries
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Re: Microfiche Distribution for FDLP Libraries

Postby kpiselli on August 30th, 2013, 2:24 pm

I like keeping certain collections in microfiche because (1) we have had internet service downtime (2) space (3) certain series inexplicably published in both paper and fiche formats in the past. Every format has its limitations, but I hope libraries can stick with the depository program to ensure redundancy for future researchers.
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