Resources for Film and Television Research

Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Image available via Creative Commons.

About this guide
This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research on topics related to Film and Television. Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of the guide.

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Reference Sources: Background Information

Online Reference Books
The library subscribes to some online reference sources. When accessing these resources from off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

  • Chambers Film Factfinder: “a collection of useful and often fascinating information on many aspects of film, from the early days of silent cinema to the twenty-first century.”
  • International Dictionary of Films and Filmakers “Provides thorough coverage of films and filmmakers, including legendary films, actors and actresses, directors, writers and other production artists.”
  • In addition, you have online access to the entire 8 volume series of the History of American Cinema through the Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Topic Pages from Credo Reference
These pages are “designed as an all-in-one starting point for students to begin their research process.” You’ll find links to other library resources on these topic pages. Give them a try!

Print Reference Books
Reference books are a good place to begin your research. These print resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • The Oxford Handbook of Film and Media Studies — R 791.43 K81o 2008
  • Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film — R 791.4303 G761s
  • The Complete Film Dictionary — R 791.43 K82c


Search the library catalog for books on your topic. The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks.

Search for information on your topic by keyword. Some sample searches are listed below:

    film noir and criticism
    film design
    film genres
    film style
    mise en scene
    motion pictures and style
    motion pictures and gender
    motion pictures setting and scenery
    motion picture directors
    scorsese and criticism
    hollywood and motion pictures and history
    documentary films history and criticism

In addition, browse a list of books on American Film Directors held by the library.

Here are the call numbers for some common film topics:

Motion Pictures/Film 791.43 Directing 791.4302 Acting 791.43028 Film History 791.4309 Foreign Films 791.43094-791.43096 Genres 791.436 Film Adaptations 791.437 Screenplays 791.4372


Articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) often provide current information and scholarly research on a topic. To find articles on topics related to Film and Television, search the following databases:

  • Academic Search Premier: Provides full text for more than 4,600 periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals) in all subject areas, including nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.
  • JSTOR: Contains articles from hundreds of scholarly journals covering a wide range of subjects in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, including the journal Film Quarterly.
  • Project MUSE: Provides complete, full-text versions of scholarly journals in subject areas such as: ethnic studies; art and architecture; literature; education; film; theatre and performing arts; and more. Contains over 525 journals, 335 of which are full text. An good source of scholarly articles for advanced literary criticism.
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete: Provides full-text articles from over 450 journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study.
  • Newspaper Source Plus: Beyond newspapers, this resource provides more than 857,000 full text television and radio news transcripts.

Finding good websites for college research can be difficult and time-consuming. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to evaluate the websites you find on your own.

Film and Television Catalogs

  • The Internet Movie Database: IMDb describes itself as “the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content.”
  • American Film Institute: Among other things, AFI “preserves the legacy of America’s film heritage through the AFI Archive… and the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, an authoritative record of American films from 1893 to the present.”
  • UCLA Film and Television Archive: “The UCLA Film & Television Archive is the second largest moving image archive in the United States after the Library of Congress, and the world’s largest university-based media archive.”

Professional Organizations

How to Cite
MLA citation style is most typically used when writing papers in the liberal arts or humanities. Double check with your professor about which citation style is required for your assignments.

The following resources will help you construct MLA citations: