GPO began distribution of microfiche in the mid-1970s as a cost and space-savings measure for Federal Depository Libraries.
Viability of microfiche as a distribution format has fallen in recent years due to a number of factors:
- Newer technology has superseded the benefits.
- Microfiche distributed to depositories is not of preservation quality.
- End-user format preferences have largely changed over the years.
- Microfiche distribution lags significantly behind paper distribution and online availability.
- The number of vendors doing microfiche conversion is shrinking.
The Superintendent of Documents announced at the 2021 Fall Depository Library Conference that the microfiche format will be phased out. The Discontinuation of Microfiche Distribution to FDLP Libraries project is underway to manage the transition away from the format.
|December 2021-January 2022||GPO outreach to Federal Depository Libraries selecting CFR and/or CFR Index in microfiche format|
|January 2022||Items for paper format of CFR and/or CFR Index added to library item selections based on outreach.|
|January 12, 2022||GPO meeting with regional Federal Depository Libraries to discuss discontinuation of microfiche distribution to the FDLP.|
|January-February 2022||GPO outreach to individual Federal Depository Libraries.|
|Late February 2022||GPO meetings with depositories in each National Collection Service Area|
|March 31, 2022||Microfiche contract for the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the CFR Index and Finding Aids ended.|
|April 22, 2022||Deadline for libraries selecting microfiche format of titles on microfiche contract ending April 30, 2022 to add desired paper items to DSIMS cart|
|April 25, 2022||Paper items in DSIMS carts added to libraries’ item selections|
|April 30, 2022||Microfiche contract for House and Senate Journals, Y1s, and Y4s ended.|
|September 30, 2022||Deadline for libraries to add paper items for bound and/or daily Congressional Record, Federal Register, and/or LSA to their DSIMS carts|
|September 30, 2022||Microfiche contract for bound Congressional Record ends|
|October 1, 2022||Paper items in DSIMS carts added to libraries’ item selections|
|December 2022-January 2023||GPO ceases acquisition of Federal Register, LSA, and daily Congressional Record in microfiche for FDLP distribution. Distribution of Federal Register and LSA microfiche to end with final 2022 issues.|
|December 2022-January 2023||Distribution of daily Congressional Register to end with last issues of 117th Congress.|
To support our libraries through this transition, GPO will
- Reach out to regional Federal Depositories to discuss the impact on regional collections
- Reach out to selective Federal Depositories selecting titles in microfiche to assist where possible
- Recruit Preservation Stewards and Print Selectors to ensure access to these titles
- Facilitate collaboration at the National Collection Service Area level
- Encourage collection development collaboration among FDLs:
- Selective Housing Agreements (SHAs) to house regional copies
- De-duplication of holdings in states with two regionals via SHAs
- New shared regional arrangements
- Provide Superintendent of Documents authorization to weed and/or authorization to deselect, as appropriate
- Maintain communication with the library community
Impacted Titles / Series
For all impacted titles, volumes / publications “in the pipeline” when the contract ends will be processed by the microfiche vendor. Microfiche distribution will continue until all volumes / publications sent to the contractor for conversion have been distributed.
Libraries currently selecting microfiche formats of these publications will have the opportunity to add the paper formats to their item selections. Libraries should remember that microfiche distribution lags behind paper distribution, so adding paper items sooner will create smaller gaps in collections.
Regional depository libraries that need these publications in tangible form but do not have room for paper should consider alternatives, including
- House paper versions in off-site storage
- Enter into a selective housing agreement for another library to select and receive the paper version on your behalf
- Selective Housing Agreement with another depository library in your state (if applicable)
- Shared Regional Agreement with another regional depository library
- Is there a Preservation Steward with holdings on which you can rely?
- Is a Print Selector in place, allowing you to deselect the paper?
Libraries committed to selecting and retaining any of these publications are encouraged to consider becoming a Preservation Steward or a Print Selector. Both regional depositories and selective depositories have the opportunity to be Preservation Stewards or Print Selectors.