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Film Studies: finding and using library resources for assignments: 4. Research databases

Online tutorial introducing you to the skills and techniques needed for effective library research



Databases provide access to scholarly research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.



The key resources are:

Other databases you can use to find secondary critical material include JSTOR, Humanities International Complete and MLA International Bibliography. See the next tabs for more information on these resources.

This collection contains publications relating to film history, theory and criticism, and includes:

The American Film Institute's index to American films produced from 1893 to today

Index of international silent-era film holdings, a selection of reference volumes and full-text of over 60 academic and popular film journals

Index of films from over 170 countries, produced by the British Film Institute.

The databases can be cross-searched all at once, or searched separately using the links above.

Use the comprehensive Screen Studies Libguide for support and training.

Access screenplays from screenwriters including Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, and Joel and Ethan Coen.

Alongside this, you can explore an interactive timeline of film history, film stills, and a range of e-books.


JSTOR is a valuable research resource for secondary resources. You can use it to search and find the full text of published books and journal articles.

See the Tutorial activity for more information on how to search JSTOR.

In addition to this, use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for educational and instructional videos.

JSTOR Understanding Shakespeare

Understanding Shakespeare is a collaborative project between JSTOR Labs and the Folger Shakespeare Library . It’s a research tool that allows students, educators and scholars to use the text of Shakespeare’s plays to quickly navigate into the scholarship written about them—line by line.

Users simply click next to any line of text in a play and relevant articles from the JSTOR archive immediately load.

Explore the collection here.


Here is an example from Richard III


There are 17 articles within JSTOR with reference to the first line of the play

An index to scholarly literature in the Humanities from around the world, including film studies publications. Some content is full-text.

Use Humanities International Complete to find secondary critical sources.

View the tutorial to find out how to search this database.

The MLA International Bibliography covers scholarship dealing with the following fields:

  • Literature: from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America
  • Folklore: folk literature, music, art, rituals, and belief systems
  • Language and linguistics: the study of languages from any historical period, including history and theory of linguistics, comparative linguistics, semantics, stylistics, syntax and translation
  • Literary theory and criticism
  • Dramatic arts: film, radio, television and theatre
  • History of printing and publishing
  • Teaching of language, literature, rhetoric and composition at college level (from 1998 onwards)

Use MLA International Bibliography to find secondary resources such as books and journal articles.

If you would like to find films, documentaries and other footage, these are some of the key resources.

For more audiovisual resources, see the A-Z database list.

Most of our film resources are available in digital format, but the Library does also have a collection of DVDs and videos that can be borrowed. For more information, click here.

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