Film Studies

Woman using film projector. Public Library History Files. State Library of North Carolina.

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research in film studies.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian:
Charlotte Price
302 Milstein Center, Barnard Library

Welcome! This page highlights key electronic resources for conducting effective research in film studies. If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please use the link above to schedule a research consultation with me.

Reference Sources

Film Indexes Online searches Film Index International (British Film Institute), the FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals (international journals from 1972-present), and the AFI Catalog (American Film Institute) together.

Columbia's Film Language Glossary provides multimedia definitions of essential terms used in basic and advanced film courses that are representative of all the major categories of film studies.

The Women Film Pioneers Project is an online resource ,with overview articles and profiles about women who were silent era film directors, writers, camera operators, editors, costume designers, and more. The bibliographies offer a starting point for researching women in film.

Recommended Databases for Journal & Newspaper Articles and Reviews

Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text covers journal and magazine titles for film and television reviews, scholarly and critical analysis of cinema and television, and articles of popular interest about film and television

Humanities Full Text brings full text (starting 1995) plus abstracts and bibliographic indexes (starting 1984) of noted scholarly sources in the humanities, as well as lesser known specialized magazines.

International Index to the Performing Arts is a multidisciplinary index to the performing arts. Includes full-text.

Classic Mexican Cinema Online is a database of five historic film periodicals, illuminating the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema (1930s-1960s). The database also gives access to the personal scrapbook of pioneering filmmaker Fernando de Fuentes (1894-1958), as well as to a collection of fifty rare lobby cards. Bibliographic information in English, full-text in Spanish.

Proquest Direct contains citations and fulltext articles from several thousand magazines, journals, newspapers, etc. covering many subjects in academic & professional disciplines

Variety Insight contains data on TV and film development, production as well as release information. Includes staffing lists, information on LA screenings, TV pilots, representation, awards, box office, film festivals, and more.

Vscore allows database users to create pre-set or custom lists of actors around gender, age, ethnicity and other factors. Lists are ranked by Vscore's proprietary algorithm that identifies which actors are most familiar and appealing to US audiences based on key performance indexes, such as social listings, performance data, awards, and TV and film development

Find Articles

Or search multiple databases simultaneously:


Finding Books, Screenplays, and Media

Browse the stacks using the film call number range:  PN1993-1999

CLIO - Online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library.

WorldCat searches libraries worldwide.

Film Scripts Online is a searchable database of over 1,100 full-text film scripts, most of which have never been published before, includes detailed indexing on scenes, characters, and people. Contains bibliographic and biographical information of directors and writers, along with the full text of the movies themselves, from the earliest silent films through to the present. Supports the study of popular culture, film, diversity and gender issues, language and linguistics, writing, American history, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

International Index to Performing Arts Full Text also indexes screenplays and has some excerpts. The best way to do this is to type in "screenplays" and choose "Subject" from the dropdown next to the search box. You can then type in a film title. This database also indexes some foreign language scripts. Most scripts are not online.

SimplyScripts is a free internet resource with downloadable scripts of various sorts. Lots of ads, though, so beware of what you click!

Internet Movie Script Database is another free script database with mostly contemporary film script drafts. Warning: the site does have multiple pop-up ads.

CLIO Search Tip: There isn't a perfect search method for locating screenplays. In many cases, you can search the film's title and browse the results for a screenplay. For popular titles, it may be more effective to conduct an advanced search and exclude the keyword videorecording. A subject search for Television scripts as well as Motion picture plays will show quite a few available in CLIO, as will 

To find published scripts not only in CLIO, a subject search for Motion Picture Plays > Bibliography or Television scripts > Bibliography leads to lists of published screenplays.

Media materials (DVDs, CDs) are available from the Media Collection at the Barnard Library Circulation Desk and from Butler Media Center.

If you want to work with television news clips, or full-length documentaries, historic films, or independent films online, you will find many great titles in our subscription databases. For example: 

The Vanderbilt Television News Archive provides access to broadcast recordings of television news from major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN), ranging from 1968 to present. 

Alexander Street Press has several collections of full length films and videos, including Silent Films, PBS Video, Ethnographic Films, Independent World Cinema, and the PBS Video Collection. 

CLIO Search Tip: Conduct an advanced search and limit results to format: Visual Materials (videos, dvds, etc.) or use videorecording as a keyword.

Archival Research

The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria has a whole research guide on their website, including a link to their collection catalog of more than 130,000 objects.

The Paley Center for Media's  permanent media collection contains over 160,000 television and radio programs and advertisements, available both in New York and Los Angeles. The searchable online database offers synopses, along with production credits for the programs. 

She Made It comes from The Paley Center, chronicling women working in television and radio production, direction, writing, sportscasting, and other underrepresented fields. Includes some archival clips.      

The Vanderbilt TV News Archive is the world's most extensive and complete archive of TV news. Archives go back to August 5th, 1968.

Women in Early Film (National Women's History Museum) is an online exhibit with historical images and a brief history of women's roles in the early industry.      

Citing Film, Video, and Online Media

Dartmouth has an excellent research guide with examples on various media sources.

Trinity College's CiteSource has examples for each style based on format (e.g. YouTube, DVD, live screening, etc).

Williams College also has a page with examples of citing TV, radio, music scores, and  sound recordings.

Other Sources

Barnard Library's Theatre research guide may also be a helpful resource.