Use this guide to quickly find reputable sources and save time on your research! Contact your subject librarian or the reference librarians if you need more help. For an overview of how to research efficiently, see Steps of the Research Process.


Finding Materials in the Library

Search CityCat to find books, e-books, disks and more. There are many ways to search, such as Title, Author and Keyword.

Books in the library are organized by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system which groups items by subject, so you can often simply browse the shelves. Here are some relevant subjects and their call numbers:

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


Reference Sources

Reference books are great for short overviews and background information. There are also reference resources in our database section.

Encyclopedia of European Cinema.
New York: Facts on File, 1995.
REF PN 1993.5.E8 E52 1995 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.

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

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

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

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

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



Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

Gale Powersearch
Gale Powersearch is a brand name for 25 multidisplinaryl databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. These databases let you limit your results to articles only from scholarly journals by checking the box "Peer Reviewed publications."

Ebscohost is a brand name for more than 25 multi-disciplinary databases with coverage from 1980 to the present.

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. Once you have entered your barcode number, select the subject - Science & Technology.  Applied Science & Technology Index and General Science Index, and Internet & Personal Computing Abstracts are two databases that index a lot of information on computer science..



Use websites for government information, statistics and current events. It's very important to carefully evaluate websites for accuracy, currency, bias and credibility.

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 criticism.

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.