Microfiche Format to Be Phased Out

  • Last Updated: December 20, 2021
  • Published: December 20, 2021

The Superintendent of Documents announced at the 2021 Federal Depository Library Conference that microfiche will be phased out as a format for selection by libraries in the FDLP. In early 2022, GPO will stop sending a group of selected titles to the vendor for microfiche conversion. Libraries selecting those titles will continue to receive the microfiche versions until all converted publications in the workflow have been distributed. GPO will contact libraries selecting these microfiche titles and assist with the transition to paper or online formats.

As regional depository libraries are responsible for ensuring the comprehensiveness of the FDLP collection in their regions, LSCM staff will contact regional depository library staff to discuss the timeline and implications of the microfiche phase-out. For regional libraries with concerns about selecting the paper format, strategies will be discussed. Selective depositories may be contacted by their regional to discuss local implications.

GPO began distribution of microfiche in the mid-1970s as a cost and space-savings measure for Federal depository libraries. While the format has served a critical role in ensuring public access to Federal Government information, newer technology has superseded the cost and space-saving benefits. Additionally, microfiche distributed is not of preservation quality, and end-user format preferences have largely changed over the years.

GPO will keep libraries informed of upcoming transition activities through FDLP News and Events and with webinars and discussion sessions via FDLP Academy. Please share the news alerts with any staff in your library who work with the depository collection but are not subscribed to FDLP News and Events email alerts.