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Film Studies Research Guide: Books

A guide to conducting research in Film Studies at Yale University, including key resources and crucial search strategies.

How to Find Books in Film Studies

The Key Thing to Know


The subject heading for books on Film Studies in Orbis is MOTION PICTURES.  Similarly, the movie business is called the motion picture industry and screenplays are motion picture plays.  Certain subject headings do use FILMS, usually for genre terms. Some books (mostly French books that haven't yet been catalogued) have the word Cinema in the subject field.

 

What's Here


The rest of this page explains what subject headings are, and how to use Orbis to find:

  • Books about particular films
  • Books about particular people
  • Films (and books) by particular people or studios

See Topics in Film Studies for information on searching other subjects.

 

If you need an introduction to searching in Orbis, look at the site for Yale's Online Catalog (Orbis) Tutorials.

To find materials that Yale does not own, you can use Library of Congress Subject Headings to search in WorldCat. To request these items, go through Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.

 


Subject Headings

 

Subject headings strive to identify topics with consistent terminology. The basic terminology is produced by the Library of Congress. Always look at the subject headings in any catalog, database or index to make sure that you are searching with the most relevant terminology. Once you have the right terms, it's much easier to find the right books.

 

Examples


All of the pages in the Topics section of this subject guide provide examples of subject headings, but here are a few examples.  You can often create correct subject headings by following them as a model. 

 

Sometimes these subject headings are also useful for searching journal databases for Scholarly Articles. You can also save yourself considerable work by looking at existing bibliographies, which list books and articles on a particular subject (up to a certain date).

 

Films:


Books about a particular film can be searched in Orbis entering the film title as the subject:

 

People and Studios:


Books about any person or group of people can also be searched in Orbis using a subject search, either with LastName FirstName, or a description of the group:

For works (movies as well as books, sometimes including screenplays) by a particular person, use an author search:

 

Genres and Topics:


See the Topics section for detailed information.

 

Briefly, however, you use a Keyword search to look for genres and topics, especially if you are unsure of the Library of Congress Subject Heading. A keyword search finds the term anywhere in the Orbis record. When you do a keyword search, be sure to look at the subject headings used to describe this topic and also search by the correct Library of Congress Subject Heading.

 

Also, use a keyword search if you have multiple concepts or topics to search. Remember that the subject heading for film in general is Motion Pictures, but genres may use the term Films, and a few books (usually uncatalogued items) have a subject headings with the word Cinema.

Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics