The purpose of
this guide is to familiarize you with the best resources on
a variety of aspects of film including criticism, history
Think about words that describe your topic and the
variations of that word, as well as directors, performers,
and technologies. Boundaries are not clear-cut between film
genres and some of the people involved cross perceived
boundaries. This can give you great angles for your
research, but can also make it difficult to stay focused on
a topic precise enough for a good paper.
and indexes are good places to start your research. They
can help you identify a topic for your paper and often
include useful bibliographies.
Encyclopedia REFERENCE PN1993.45 .K34 1994
Encyclopedia of Novels Into Film OVERSIZE
P1997.85 .T54 1998
Film Literature Index REFERENCE Z5784 ,M9 F45
Film Studies Dictionary REFERENCE PN1993.45 .B53
A research paper on
film is not a review of a movie you attended. You need to do
research and find 3-5 books on your topic to write a decent
paper. Depending on how much time you have, you have options
for where you can search for books:
Library Catalog is what you can find in the
Circuit is the joint
catalog for CSUSM, SDSU, UCSD, and USD with delivery in
1-3 days for CSUSM users.
Melvyl searches the entire University of
California catalog system and delivers in 5-10 days
through Interlibrary Loan for CSUSM.
searches a 'universe' of library catalogs and delivers
in 5-10 days through Interlibrary Loan for CSUSM.
Useful Subject Terms
Can't think of terms to accurately describe your topic?
Library catalogs use specific subject headings to group
related books together. 'Film' is such a large topic
and can be defined in multiple ways, you will
want to think of ways to narrow it down by time period, title, director,
genre, etc. Ask a librarian to
help, or here are some
examples to consider:
Browse the book stacks
Sometimes, just looking through the shelves can turn
up works you would not have otherwise considered. Using
the Library of Congress subject heading system, you will
find FILM is shelved in the PN call number area, ranging
from PN1993 to PN1997.85. The
Wikipedia online encyclopedia provides a list of the
subclasses in the PN area so you can see how this is
journals include some of the latest research in the field as
well as discussion of adaptations, genres, directorial
styles, and historical developments. THey're a good source
for finding very detailed information on your topic and you
should have at least 3-5 as well as the books found above
for a decent paper. It is a good idea to start with a couple
of books before diving into the journals to get ideas on
terms to use in your research as you will get a larger
number of articles to look through than you will find in
books. To find articles, you will need to start with
research databases. Each will allow you to search hundreds
of journals at once. The problem is to decide which
databases to look in first!
Some databases do not offer
full text of the articles. Use the
to check our other resources for full text.
Full-text coverage for hundreds of scholarly journals in
the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics
Contains complete full-text back files (EXCEPT for the
latest five years) of core scholarly journals in such
areas as sociology, history, economics, political
science, mathematics, African-American studies, Asian
studies and others.
Academic Search Premier
Covers a wide array of subjects with full text for
nearly 1,850 scholarly journals, including more than
1,250 peer-reviewed titles.
Communication & Mass Media
Provides abstracts and full text for more than 200
Includes complete ABI Inform (business) and Newsstand
Also Useful (more specialized
Covers news and business information, including Dow
Jones and Reuters newswires and The Wall Street Journal,
plus more than 8,000 other sources providing current
Lexis Nexis Academic
Provides access to a wide range of news, business,
legal, and reference information.
Includes abstracts of articles from critical literary
and language journals. This is primarily concerned with
the original work of literature, but you will find
plenty of articles on adaptations here.
RILM Music Abstracts
Abstracts from scholarly journals on international music
and related disciplines, focus on adaptations here will
be on writing music for film.
Womens Studies International
Includes over 204,000 records drawn from a variety of
essential women's studies databases.
Not all journals need to be accessed through the
research databases, here are some additional titles:
Electronic Journals Film
A listing of all the full text
journals available on film topics offered by CSUSM
either through the databases or on the open internet.
Covers a wide variety of genres, reviews, and people
in the industry.
Fade in Online
An emphasis on directors and trends in Hollywood.
The Magazine of Independent Film
An emphasis on technical and promotional topics of
interest to the filmmaker along with resources.
If soundtracks and music in support of the visual
images is your interest, this is a must-visit site.
Journal of Popular Film and Culture
Discussion of films, genres, and directors along with
reviews of both theatre-release movies and video.
From the University of Nottingham Department of Film
Studies, this free journal addresses meaning and
representation rather than the technical aspects of
various films. Covers a wide range of cinema as well as
book and film reviews.
instructor may allow use of some web pages you find on the
Wild Wild Web, but remember NOT ALL SITES ARE OF EQUAL VALUE
TO YOU AS A RESEARCHER. Exercise caution with statements you
find and look for reference lists and citations for
supporting documentation. Without careful checking and
research, you don't know what is truth and what is fiction,
but the instructor grading your paper is going to know!
Click on a link below to open a page of reliable sites you
can check out.
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
This is the organization that selects the Academy Award
winners to receive the coveted Oscars. Information winners
in all categories can be found here.
A portal to journals and academic sources on film, film
studies and the business of film and screenwriting.
American Film Institute
The largest organization concerned with the moving image
from commercial, education and preservation aspects.
Popular Culture: Film
A list of websites, online articles and a bibliography to a
variety of sources on film in American culture.
A wide variety of links on film, filmmaking and more
From the British Broadcasting Company, this site offers
reviews, filmmaking advice, and information on alternative
films among many other useful pieces.
British Film Institute
Offering links on history, film reviews, scriptwriting
and much more, this provides more of the European view of
Creative Planet Communities
Online news, articles and
discussion boards for technical assistance on specific film
making an editing tools.
Directory of Open Access
Click on the "performing arts"
category to see freely-available online journals including
A collection of online seminars,
exhibits and other materials from reputable institutions and
organizations, most is freely available. Check the Course
Directory tab to find the free seminars and websites on film
A list of organizations and
funding agencies assembled by the National Endowment for the
An assortment of review sites,
blogs and online publications. Genre categories offered in
the left navigation bar are particularly helpful as are the
screen snapshots provided when you mouse over the link.
Discussion and resource site for cinema history and uses of
InfoUSA: Links to Cinema
Compiled by the US State Department, this is a list of links
to archives and organizations on film and the film industry.
Internet Archive: Moving
A very large collection of public domain films of
documentary, entertainment and historical interest.
Internet Movie Database
For basic information about a film, this is one of the more
complete sites. "A search on adaptations" returns a variety of
links to foreign-language-adaptations, adaptations by the
writer and more.
Masters of Cinema
Focusing on World Cinema topics and filmmakers.
Moving Image Collections: A
Window to the World's Moving Images
A catalog of archives with access information provided when
known. This site does not provide online viewing, but the
information about each item is extensive.
National Film Preservation
Board: Other Film Resources
Links to research centers, film schools, legal resources and
historical research sources.
Selected Web Sites for Film
History and Criticism
Short list of sites assembled by a Yale University
Librarian, much of the rest of the site is focused
specifically on accessing Yale's resources, but the
Genres and Themes and
Social and Other Aspects of Cinema pages are useful to
CSUSM researchers as well.
Video on Demand
A collection of performances, lectures, interviews, and
installations recorded at UCSD. These are free to watch
using RealPlayer. Use the video finder subject divisions to
browse the offerings (try starting with the Arts & Music
collection and then select the "by subject" tab. A
title/keyword search option is available. Of interest are
the Media Arts and Artists Profiles sections.
As you write
your paper, you will need to cite passages and ideas from
the sources you have found. In order to cite your resources
properly, you need to follow the style specified by your
instructor. See the
STYLE GUIDES to locate a quick summary online or the
shelf location for the paper-format manual you need to use.
the librarian listed at the top of the page OR call the
Research Help Desk at 760-750-4391 or email