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Patents in miniature: the effects of microfilm as an information technology, 1938–68

Bellido, Jose (2023) Patents in miniature: the effects of microfilm as an information technology, 1938–68. Technology and Culture, 64 (2). pp. 407-433. ISSN 1097-3729. E-ISSN 0040-165X. (doi:10.1353/tech.2023.0056) (KAR id:102240)


How did microfilm come to shape patent work? This article shows that, despite initial resistance to the new medium, microfilms changed not just search rooms but international connections and collaborations. It traces how legal and media technologies coalesced by considering how microfilm changed the patent office and the work of patent examiners and information brokers. As a photographic medium, microfilm enabled patents to be seen differently: not merely as documents, but as a distinct literature that could be abstracted, linked, and disseminated. The article explores how microfilm technology changed the ways that patents were organized, distributed, and used.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1353/tech.2023.0056
Uncontrolled keywords: patents; microfilm; media; copies; technology; dissemination; information; law
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: European Union (
Depositing User: Jose Bellido
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2023 13:58 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 11:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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