What on earth is microfilm?!
Say you're doing a project on Johann Christian Bach's Magnificat in C and need to see the original manuscript or you're writing a paper about accordions and you need to see a copy of the journal Accordion Times.
The magnificat is in the British Library in England and Accordion Times is no longer in print!!!!!
Oh no!, you think. Now I'll never be able to look at the original copy! The quality of my paper will go down! That paper is 25% of my final grade! This is terrible! I just want to curl up in a ball and cry!
NEVER FEAR! MICROFORM IS HERE!
(Yes, I am aware I have used lots of exclamation points but that shows just how exciting this really is.)
Microform, also sometimes called microfilm depending on the medium, is a handy way to make important documents available on a teeny tiny scale. Basically, the original magnificat score and the old copies of accordion times had pictures taken of them. The images were put on a teeny tiny film reel (predating the slide projector!) and by using a special viewer, you can see the entire original document.
That sounds pretty dumb. I can only use it at the library...
This is where the even cooler part comes up. You know how sometimes you have to convert word documents into PDF's?
At the Performing Arts Library, you can turn microfilm images into PDF files so you can print them or look at them on your own computer at home!