What is Microfilm?

 When you can't find published primary sources, you may be able to get ahold of electronic or microfilm copies

Image: picture of microfilm reel

Much archival primary source material has been filmed over the years, but using it will take some getting used to.  Ask for help with microfilm, microfiche, or microcards at a reference desk!

A sense of what it is and how you use it: Using Microfilm

Image: picture of microfilm reader

News Resources

A very thorough guide to finding news articles, including historical news, in print, in microfilm &/or online.

US Government

The U.S. government commissions and publishes a number of images.

U.S Congressional Serial Set (Readex)
This is the database of digitized texts from the bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Upon completion, the digital version of the Serial set will consist of over 12 million pages. Database searchable by subject, publication category, standing committee author, and other parameters. Cornell also holds print versions of the entire run. As of February 2009, the following years are covered online:
15th Congress - 89th Congress, 2nd session through Serial Set no. 12749, 1817 - 1966
Serial Set Volumes: 1 - 12749

You can limit searches to results that contain tables, maps, and/or illustrations. The list of search results should indicate which results contain maps, color maps, tables, and/or illustrations.

Images may be downloaded as pdf, bi-tonal (black & white) pdf, or tiff. Some jpg downloads are also offered.

Examples of material found in the Serial Set include reports of geological surveys, agricultural reports, portraits, disaster reports, contested election materials, and much, much more.

Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections

Image: Kroch Library Rare and Manuscript Collections logoHoused on the lowest level of Kroch Library, the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is open for research Monday-Friday and some Saturdays during the academic year. Please consult their website for specific hours. This is Cornell's largest collection of archival and rare book materials. While books are listed in the library catalog, archival collections are described on the collection (rather than at the item) level. Notable collections are described here.

Please note the following policy: before using the collections, you must set up a research account and present photo identification. Set up your account online first--you can request materials in advance of your visit--then when you visit the Reference Room (level 2B Kroch), present photo identification. Be sure to check their web site for specific hours of operation.

You may also be interested in the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives and its archival collections.

Electronic resources

This is just a sampling of the many, many primary resources available in electronic form. Also see the "primary sources" section of the main library web site.