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A collection of research resources for film studies.
For more assistance, contact: Elise Ferer, Liaison Librarian, 245-1085.
Important Information about the Research Process
What is a Good Source?
It is important that you consult a variety of sources, including print and digital when engaging in the research process. On-line resources are quick and convenient in that they can be accessed outside the library, but they do not represent the complete range of information available in any discipline. Many of the rich resources owned by the library, both primary and secondary, are available in print. A librarian can help you locate appropriate resources for your topic.
Good researchers don't ignore a possible location or lead. Some sources you discover may not be available in Dickinson's collection. When beginning the research process, be sure to build in enough time to order materials through Interlibrary Loan.
A good researcher is defined by the willingness and ability to follow leads and being able to quickly evaluate a source for its reliability and usefulness. Clues to important and reliable information come from many places. Secondary sources are often good places to start the research project, as their footnotes and bibliographies can provide you with leads to primary sources and other important secondary works.
Primary and Secondary Resources
A primary source is an account by an eyewitness, the first recorder of an event, the results of an original experiment, or documents produced at the time an event occurred. A primary source may be printed or electronic material and can include diaries, letters, notes, memoirs, personal papers, public documents, field research reports, minutes of meetings, news footage, newspaper articles, speeches, and oral histories. Primary source material can also include creative works such as films, poetry, music, or art, and artifacts such as stone points, pottery, furniture, and buildings. Dickinson College owns primary material in fields such as Native American and scientific history, and also has many indexes and databases which will help you locate primary material.
A secondary source is a document which is derived from, or based on, study and analysis of primary sources. These are works that are not original manuscripts or contemporary records, but which critique, comment on, or build upon these primary sources. They interpret and analyze primary sources and provide the background necessary to understand the primary sources. A secondary source may be printed or electronic material and can include reviews, criticism, editorials, analyses, encyclopedias, textbooks, histories, and commentaries. Most scholarly journal articles are secondary sources which provide analysis, interpretation, or evaluation.
How to Start Looking for Sources
Developing a list of keywords for your project is vital for your bibliographic search, for your note taking and for shaping your final paper. A keyword is simply an important word or short phrase relating to your research. Keywords can be a person's name, a place, an organization or a subject. You can often use keywords to conduct a search of the library's catalog, electronic databases, or printed indexes. As you begin to research your topic, you will discover additional keywords that describe your subject. Some words may no longer be in popular use ("Great War" for World War I), but may at one time have been standard. Such words or phrases will be important if you attempt to find older resources.
A subject heading is a specific word or phrase used to find and organize books and articles by topic. Subject headings are different from keywords in that they are specific terms assigned to a subject by an organization. For example, the Library of Congress supplies subject headings for books owned by Dickinson College (and other libraries), and the company that provides Web of Science supplies subject headings for the articles indexed in that database.
These subject headings, also known as subject descriptors, may not be what you would expect. You might, for instance, go to our catalog and search for autobiographies and Nobel Prize winners. But the Library of Congress uses the term Personal Narrative instead of autobiography.
Subject headings can often be found on the page of a book that provides the publisher's information, or at or near the bottom of the page of an online record of a book or article. The subject heading can be used to search for related books or articles when copied exactly as printed.
In the library catalog and many electronic databases, an items's subject(s) will be hyperlinked, so that you can click on the subject heading to find similar items. You also might want to note the exact words for future use.
This is an example of a book in the library catalog with numerous subject headings:
PR3093 .W45 1999
Publication info: Frankfurt am Main ; New York : P. Lang, c1999.
Physical description: 210 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
Series: (European university studies. Series XXX, Theatre, Film and television,ISSN0721-3662 ; vol. 75 = Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe XXX, Theater-, Film- und Fernsehwissenschaften ; Bd. 75) Bibliography note: Filmography: p. 195-197.
Bibliography note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 205-210).
Personal subject: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 Film and video adaptations.
Personal subject: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Much ado about nothing.
Personal subject: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Henry V.
Personal subject: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Hamlet.
Personal subject: Branagh, Kenneth.
Subject: English drama Film and video adaptations.
Series: Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe XXX, Theater-, Film- und Fernsehwissenschaften ; Bd. 75.
Keeping Track of Your Searches
As you begin your research project take a moment and think about how to keep careful records of where you have searched (what catalog or database) and with what keywords. The system needs to be flexible and dynamic since your project may change focus and you need to adapt. What you want to avoid is repeating work (since you may not remember doing a search one month later) or leaving a hole in your research (e.g., by searching a database or site early on with one idea and then never returning after you have changed directions). You also need good recordkeeping from the start in order to keep track of your citations.
Expanding or Narrowing Your Search
Words such as AND, OR, and NOT are used to combine search terms to broaden or narrow a search in an electronic database. AND will narrow your search; for example, the search "cats AND dogs" returns items that contain both the terms cats and dogs (both terms must appear in the record). OR will broaden your search; for example, the search "cats OR dogs" will return items that contain either the term cat or the term dog - both not necessarily both. NOT will exclude specific items, thereby narrowing your search slightly. For example, the search "Don Siegel" NOT "Dirty Harry"" will exclude any articles, films, or other materials dealing with Don Siegel involving Dirty Harry, but will include any other films directed by, or books or articles written by or about him.
Finding Materials in the Waidner-Spahr Library
Use the Dickinson College catalog to search for books that the Dickinson College library owns. Once you find a book you want, you will need to print or write down the call number for the item in order to locate it on the shelves.
In our library, books that are available for checkout are located on two floors of the library. You will find all books with call numbers beginning with A through F on the east wing of the main level of the library. All books with call numbers beginning with G through Z are located on the third floor. All reference books (non-circulating dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) are located on the main level of the library behind the computer workstation area.
A map of the Waidner-Spahr Library is available here.
For more information about how books are arranged, please read the next section, Library of Congress Classification System.
Use WorldCat to search for books that are owned by other libraries worldwide.
Library of Congress Classification System
At the Waidner-Spahr library, we organize and shelve our materials using the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System. The call numbers of books shelved according to this system always start with one or two letters, and are completed with a mix of decimal and ordinal numbers and more letters. For example, Call numbers beginning with PN always denote materials that belong to the motion picture category. To see the complete LC classification outline, follow this link: Library of Congress Classification Outline.
An example of a typical call number is this:
PN1993.5 .U6 D36 2005
Journals are publications that are printed on a regular basis - usually monthly, weekly, or semi-annually. Journals are also known as periodicals or, more simply, magazines.
Your professors at Dickinson will usually require you to use scholarly journals for your research.
A scholarly journal has a narrow subject focus. The articles are written by experts in the field who are conducting original research, or writing reviews or essays; and the articles are often reviewed by the author's peers. Articles in scholarly journals may include bibliographies (citations to books and articles) and abstracts (short summaries of the article). Scholarly journals usually have a serious "look," including few if any ads or pictures. They may, however, include graphs, charts, or diagrams. Scholarly journals are usually available only by subscription.
Scholarly journals may have the additional requirement of being peer-reviewed, which means that a panel of experts will review all articles submitted for publication.
A popular magazine is meant for entertainment or informational purposes. Authors are usually professional writers, but not experts in any particular scholarly field. Magazines will include lots of photographs and advertisements. The subject material will be wider in scope than that of most scholarly journals. Popular magazines usually do not contain bibliographies or abstracts. These are the types of periodicals you can find at a newsstand.
An index is the tool to use when you are looking for scholarly articles that have been published in scholarly journals. Indexes may take the form of printed books, which are usually arranged alphabetically by subject; or electronic databases, which can be searched in a variety of ways (by keyword or author, for example). The subject-specific pages on this pathfinder will suggest the most appropriate indexes to use for your specific search. The Dickinson College Library does not own every journal covered in every index. You may have to use interlibrary loan to obtain an article.
Dickinson College owns approximately 10,000 journal titles, 8,000 of which are electronic and the remaining 2,000 in print.
The Journal Locator is a searchable, alphabetic list of all the journals that Dickinson College owns in any format. The Journal Locator will tell you what issues of each journal we own.
To search for journals dealing with film studies, first access the Journal Locator. Change the selection box under "Browse Journals by Subject" from "--Please select a subject category--" to "Fine Arts and Music." Then click on "Motion Pictures." Most of the databases will allow you to perform a search within each individual journal once you choose one.
Most of the printed journals owned by Dickinson College are located on the lower level of the Library, east wing (the side closest to the HUB); and some are housed in various branch libraries around campus. Journals are arranged in alphabetical order by title. When you locate a journal title, be sure to read the details of the the record to make sure we own the specific issue or years you need.
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Dictionaries and encyclopedias are helpful in finding basic information about your topic area. They may also serve as sources of inspiration to you as you search for new topics to research. The following list is not comprehensive. Search the library catalog, for more encyclopedias and dictionaries. Refer to How to Find Materials on Film Studies in the Waidner-Spahr Library for tips on how to best perform a search, or contact your librarian for assistance.
General Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
- Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film
- REF PN1995.9. D6 E53 2006
- Film: An International Bibliography
- REF PN1994 .H34 2002
- The Oxford Guide to Film Studies
- REF PN1995 .O93 1998
- The Overlook Film Encyclopedia. The Gangster Film
- REF PN1995.9 .G3 O83 1998
- The Overlook Film Encyclopedia. Horror
- REF PN1995.9 .H6 M5 1994
- The New York Times Encyclopedia of Film
- REF PN1993 .N465 1984
- The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past
- REF PN1995.9 .U64 C65 2003
- The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry
- REF PN1993.5 .U6 S539 1998
- The Political Companion to American Film
- REF PN1995.9 .P6 P66 1994
- 100 Bollywood Films
- REF PN1993.5 .I8 D94 2005
- Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film
- REF PN1993.5 .A65 C66 2001
- The BFI (British Film Institute) Companion to Eastern European and Russian Cinema
- REF PN1993.5 .E2 B44 2000
- The Oxford Companion to Australian Film
- REF PN1993.5 .A8 O96 1999
- A Guide to Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Made Film and Video
- REF PN1995.9 .L37 G85 1998
- Directory of Eastern European Film-Makers and Films, 1945-1991
- REF PN1998.2 .D55 1992
- The British Cinema Source Book
- REF PN1998 .B675 1995
- Collections: First Indian Film & Video Guide
- REF PN1995.65 .I4 C65 1991
- The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film
- REF PN1997.85 .T54 2005
- Books and Plays in Films, 1896-1915: Literary, Theatrical, & Artistic Sources
- REF PN1997.85 .G54 1991
- Shakespeare on Screen: An International Filmography and Videography
- REF PR3093 .R68 1990
- Film Quotations: 11,000 Lines Spoken on Screen
- REF PN1994.9 .N69 1994
- Film It with Music: An Encyclopedic Guide to the American Movie Musical
- REF PN1995.9 .M86 H57 2001
- Encyclopaedia of the Musical Film
- PN1995.9 .M86 G7 1981
- Fantasy and Horror: A Critical and Historical Guide to Literature, Illustration, Film, TV, Radio, & the Internet
- REF PN56 .F34
- Jewish Film Directory
- REF PN1995.9 .J46 J48 1992
Journal Articles & Indexes
An index is a specialized database that organizes information about the locations of articles in journals/magazines, reports and newspapers; and book chapters, papers in conference proceedings, and book reviews. Indexes provide the complete bibliographic citation of an article, including the title of the article, author, name of the journal, volume number, the pages of the journal in which the article can be found, and a short summary, or abstract, of the article. Some indexes are in book form, and some are electronic databases. Some electronic databases do NOT provide the complete text of articles. For tips on how to effectively search databases, and how to find journals that are not available on-line, contact your librarian, or consult How to Find Materials on Film Studies in the Waidner-Spahr Library.
- Retrospective Index to Film Periodicals, 1930-1971
- REF PN1993 .B38 1975
The Film Literature Index (FLI) annually indexes 150 film and television periodicals from 30 countries. The periodicals range from the scholarly to the popular. More than 2,000 subject headings provide detailed analysis of the articles. The FLI Online contains approximately 700,000 citations to articles, film reviews and book reviews published between 1976-2001.
A comprehensive bibliographic database covering the entire spectrum of television and film writing. Subject coverage includes film & television theory, preservation & restoration, writing, production, cinematography, technical aspects, and reviews. Covers articles published since 1930.
Indexes journals covering cultural, economic, political & social change. Coverage Range: 1991 to present.
Index of journals covering cultural, economic, political & social change. Coverage Range: 1969 to 1990.
Covers journal articles in the humanities, archaeology, art, classics, film, folklore, history, journalism and communications, linguistics, literature, music, performing arts, and religion.
A bibliographic database that cites articles from English-language periodicals. Coverage includes a wide range of interdisciplinary fields covered in a broad array of humanities and social sciences journals.
An interdisciplinary archive of over 600 journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Search journals published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Index of articles published in approximately 175 popular magazines, news magazines, and other general interest periodicals.
Internet Film Journals:
Movie analysis and history
Classic and current movies in context of popular culture
A "nonsectarian left and feminist publication," that contributes to the development of vigorous political media criticism.
What is film criticism?
Film criticism is the comparison, analysis, interpretation, and/or evaluation of films.
There are two different types of publications that offer opinions about films: academic criticism by film scholars that appears in scholarly journals, and journalistic film reviews that appear in newspapers and other popular media. The film critic tries to understand why film works, how it works, and what effects it has on people; while the film reviewer looks a film's production values and general enjoyability.
Leading film critics include:
Popular film reviewers include:
John Ivan Simon
Where to Find Film Criticism
- The New York Times Film Reviews
- REF PN1995 .N4 1913-31 1968
When searching for film criticism online, it may help to use “criticism” as a subject term along with title of work or author.
Film and Television Literature Index A comprehensive bibliographic database covering the entire spectrum of television and film writing. Subject coverage includes film & television theory, preservation & restoration, writing, production, cinematography, technical aspects, and reviews. Covers articles published since1930.
Film Literature Index The Film Literature Index (FLI) annually indexes 150 film and television periodicals from 30 countries. The periodicals range from the scholarly to the popular. More than 2,000 subject headings provide detailed analysis of the articles. The FLI Online contains approximately 700,000 citations to articles, film reviews and book reviews published between 1976-2001.
Humanities Full Text Covers journal articles in the humanities, archaeology, art, classics, film, folklore, history, journalism and communications, linguistics, literature, music, performing arts, and religion.
Humanities and Social Sciences Retrospective A bibliographic database that cites articles from English-language periodicals. Coverage includes a wide range of interdisciplinary fields covered in a broad array of humanities and social sciences journals.
JSTOR An interdisciplinary archive of over 600 journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Project Muse Search journals published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Reader's Guide Full Text Index of articles published in approximately 175 popular magazines, news magazines, and other general interest periodicals.
Where to find film reviews?
Film Review Index REF PN1995 .F513
The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made According to the New York Times.
The Greatest Films Reviews, synopses and historical backgrounds of several hundred films.
- The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
- REF PN1998.2 .T49 2002
- Contemporary North American Film Directors
- REF PN1998.2 .C68 2002
- Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors
- REF PN1998.2 .C66 2001
- Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary
- REF PN1998.2 .F67 1995
- Italian Film: A Who's Who
- REF PN1998.2 .S74 1994
- World Film Directors
- REF PN1998.2 .W67 1987
Biography and Genealogy Master Index is the first place you should look when seeking biographical information on any living or deceased person worldwide. It is an electronic index to over 13 million biographical entries in 3,400+ biographical reference works.
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television Biographical reference providing information on individuals active in the theatre, film, and television industries. Covers not only performers, directors, writers, and producers, but also behind-the-scenes specialists such as designers, managers, choreographers, technicians, composers, executives, dancers, and critics from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and the world.
Nearly 20,000 biographies, revised three times per year.
Biographies of people who shaped the British Isles.
You should be extremely cautious when using internet resources for your research. Anyone can publish anything on the Web. Unlike traditional print resources, web resources rarely have editors or fact-checkers and no standards exist to ensure accuracy on the internet. To determine whether a website may be appropriate for your research, you should take a look at various elements of the page and think about the following criteria.
|An appropriate website may be:||An inappropriate website may be:|
|Signed or attributed to an author||Unsigned and unattributed to an author|
|Created by an expert in the field||Created by a profit-making company|
|Hosted by a university, college, branch of government or not-for-profit organization||Hosted by advertisers motivated to sell products|
|Unbiased||Biased strongly toward one point of view|
|Updated frequently||Out of date and rarely, if ever, updated|
|Supported by footnotes, bibliographies, and additional readings||Devoid of the author's sources|
|Relevant to your research||Flashy and interesting, but irrelevant|
The following websites have been evaluated for you and may supplement your research in Film Studies.
Internet Movie Database. Database of movies worldwide. Provides summaries of films and lists actors, directors and others involved with the making of each film. Official movie websites and message boards are provided for many films.
Classic movies. Pages for films, starts and filmmakers.
Home of the "100 Year..." TV series and includes information for film students.
History of film, film reviews, and film links.
Home of the Oscar.
History of Australia's film and TV industry.
History of Film:
The first decade of motion pictures.
History of film genres.
From Yale University.
From students at the University of Alberta.
Search for scripts by title or genre - scripts can be downloaded for free.
Documentary and Independent Film:
News and original reviews of documentary films.
Largest and oldest group of independent filmmakers.
College Policy on Citing Sources
It is necessary for you to give proper credit to all of the resources you use in your research papers. Plagiarism is a violation of Dickinson's Student Code of Conduct, and is a specific form of cheating defined in the code as follows:
1) To plagiarize is to use without proper citation or acknowledgment the words, ideas, or work of another. Whenever one relies on someone else for phraseology, even for only two or three words, one must acknowledge indebtedness by using quotation marks and giving the source, either in the text or in a footnote.
2) When one borrows facts which are not matters of general knowledge, including all statistics and translations, one must indicate one's indebtedness in the text or footnote. When one borrows an idea or the logic of an argument, one must acknowledge indebtedness either in a footnote or in the text. When in doubt, footnote. (Academic Standards Committee, November, 1965)
You should include appropriate citations in all of your research. Your professor will direct you as to what style he or she prefers; the English Department usually prefers the MLA Style.
How to Cite
Different professors may ask you to provide citations in different formats. The library has resources for any citation format you may require.
These reference books are available on the main level of the library and cannot be checked out.
|RES LB2369 .G53 2009||MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers|
|REF PE1408 .H26 2008||A Pocket Style Manual|
|Z253 .U69 2003, REF Z253 .U69 2010||The Chicago Manual of Style|
You can find quite a bit of information on citing and plagiarism on the library's Writing Bibliographies and Citing Sources page. Also, the following web sites are continually updated.
MLA (Modern Language Association) The "official" site, includes regular updates.
Citation Styles (MLA, APA, Chicago, CBE) An all purpose web site from Bedford/St. Martin's publishers. It is contained in Online: a Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources.
Using Modern Language Association (MLA) Format Excellent website created by the Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL).
Writing with Sources Expository Writing Program at Harvard University.