Film Subject Guide
Go to the CCSF library's main page Find Books using the library's Catalog Find Articles in periodical & reference databases Search the web Library information, frequently asked questions Go to main CCSF web page

Finding Books

Reserve Books

Subject Headings

Reference Sources

Finding Articles

Web Resources

Evaluating Sources

Citing Sources

Additional Help


Film Subject Guide

Subject guides are designed to help students begin the research process, find reputable sources, and save time.

Searching the Library Catalog for Books & Other Materials

To locate books and other materials in CCSF Libraries, select the Library Catalog from the Library's Homepage. You will notice many ways to search, such as Title, Author, Subject, Subject Keyword, etc.

Examples of Subject
searches include: Motion pictures, Motion picture acting, Motion picture authorship, Cinematography, Africans Americans in motion pictures, Feminism and motion pictures, Musical films, Animated films, Historical films, Motion picture and history, Documentary films, Science fiction films, Western films, Horror films, Monsters in motion pictures, Film noir, Silent films, Women in motion pictures, Homosexuality in motion pictures.

Reserve Materials

Reserve Materials include books, sample tests, class notes, and other items that instructors put at the library for class use. The check out time is shorter than regular circulating books.

To search for a book on reserve in the Library Catalog, select from the pulldown menu, either Reserve Materials by Course or Reserve Materials by Instructor.

When you have located the materials, write down the Call Number and Title and present this to a staff person at the Circulation Desk.


Browsing the Library Collection

Materials in the Library are shelved by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system. Books are arranged on the shelves by subject. Relevant areas in the collection to find materials on film include:

Motion Pictures PN 1993-1999
Film criticism PN 1995
Documentary film PN 1995.9.D5
Women in motion pictures PN 1995.9.W6
Motion picture authorship PN 1996
Cinematography TR 845-899


Using Key Reference Sources

Reference books provide background information and overviews on a given topic. Some relevant reference books in film include:

The Motion Picture Guide.
Chicago: Cinebooks, 1985-
REF PN 1993 .M334 Rosenberg Reference

International Motion Picture Almanac.
New York: Quigley Publications.
REF PN 1998 .H433 2001 Rosenberg Reference

Halliwell's Film and Video Guide.
Robert Jean Campbell. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
RC 437 H5 1996 Rosenberg Reference, John Adams Reference.

Nowell-Smith, Gefffrey, ed. The Oxford History of World Cinema.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
REF PN 1993.5.A1 O96 1995 Rosenberg Reference

Vincendeau, Ginette, ed. Encyclopedia of European Cinema.
New York: Facts on File, 1995.
REF PN 1993.5.E8 E52 1995 Rosenberg Reference.

Magill, Frank N., ed. Magill's Survey of Cinema.
Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1981.
REF PN 1995 .M3 1981 Rosenberg Reference.

Thomas, Nicholas, ed. International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers.
Chicago: St. James Press, 1990.
REF PN 1997.8 .I58 1990 Rosenberg Reference.


Searching for Articles in Periodical Databases

Periodical databases group together journal, magazine, and newspaper articles by subject. They also usually provide abstracts (brief summaries) and the full text of the articles. Do you need help identifying the differences between scholarly journal v. popular magazine articles?

Note: Most periodical databases are part of the private, passworded Web, so you will need to have a current CCSF ID card with a barcode to access those that CCSF subscribes to. You get the free barcode from the Library either in person or online.

Infotrac Web
Infotrac is a brand name for several databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. Most
useful for film topics are the InfoTrac Expanded Academic ASAP, OneFile. A few examples
of magazines and journals included are: Film Comment, Film Culture, Film
, Film Quarterly, Films in Review, Literature-Film Quarterly, American
, and Journal of Film and Video. Infotrac allows you to limit your results to articles only from scholarly journals by checking the box "Refereed titles."

Proquest Newspapers
Provides full text indexing of the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street journal, and Washington Post -- Time periods vary.

Ethnic Newswatch
Comprised of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America, this unique body of materials covers a wide range of current topics and countless other social, political and educational subjects. More than 200 publications covering 1995 to the present are represented, and searchable in both English and Spanish.

SFPL - Electronic Resources, Magazines, and Newspapers
San Francisco Public Library subscribes to many periodical and reference databases. You must have a San Francisco Public Library card number to access them, so even after you
complete your City College courses, you can still access online periodical and reference
databases using SFPL.


Finding Web Resources

Below are some examples of academic/scholarly web sites for fim and film studies. If you use a search engine, such as Google, remember to evaluate the quality of the results.

The Internet Movie Database
Collection of movie information close to 150,000 film titles, including cast lists, plot summaries, awards, trivia, etc.

CineFiles is a database of reviews, press kits, festival and showcase program notes,
newspaper articles, and other documents from the University of California, Berkeley, Pacific Film Archives (PFA) Library's collection.

A practical site for filmmakers, film students and film-buffs. This site also has good tips for
film students to get started in the industry. In addition, it offers film discussion and film

Chicago Reader on Film
This is an excellent site for film connoisseurs. It offers brief reviews of more than 15,000
movies and also has an archive of long reviews of films.

All Movie Guide
This site allows searching by name (names of two people in the same film), author of work
on which the film is based, title of work, by location, etc.
This site provides information about the first decade of cinema and the developments which help shaped cinema as we know it today.

Cinema Sites
This site has links to reviews, previews, screenings, magazines, journals, festivals, and more.

A good site to find information on production, directors, actors, philosophy of cinema, reviews, and societies.


Need More Assistance?

Librarians welcome your questions and can help you with your research. For additional help you may go to the Reference Desk at any of the 5 CCSF campus libraries or telephone:
  • Rosenberg Library: 415-452-5543
  • Alice Statler Library: 415-239-3460
  • John Adams Library: 415-561-1946
  • Southeast Campus Library: 415-550-4353
  • Downtown Campus library: 415-267-6513

Electronic Reference Service to CCSF students, faculty, staff and registered community users. Use this service when you are NOT in a CCSF library.

Library and Web Research Workshops
FIfty minute workshops are given throughout the semester on effective methods in searching for books, articles and information on the Internet.

Evaluating and Citing Information Sources
Several useful sources for evaluating the quality of web pages, how to prepare citations for a "Bibliography" or "Works Cited" list, and how to avoid plagiarism.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab
One of the most thorough and easy to navigate writing labs avaialble!

A+ Research and Writing
Hosted by the Internet Public Library.

Writing Process @ CSU
Colorado State University developed these guides which "focus on a range of composing processes as well as issues related to the situations in which writers find themselves."

Send comments or suggestions to:

Sirous Monajami
Subject Selector
(415) 452-5469

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Last updated March 21, 2003