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FAMST 101F: Background Information

Reference Sources

Reference sources (encyclopedias, catalogs, dictionaries etc.) can be useful to get an overview of topics you may be interested in researching and to develop your research question. The more background information you have on a topic of interest, the more you will be able to think of promising research questions.  

Pro Tips: 

The AFI Catalog is most helpful for films produced in North America, Film Index International is most useful for international films.

Catalog records provide data, including theatrical premier dates and location, which can help narrow your search within primary sources.

For film reception or production analysis, search a newspaper or trade magazine limited by dates and locations found in the catalog.

Use supplemental notes to find potential primary source materials.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources, such as academic books and journals, can help you learn more about a topic, person, or event.

They also provide the opportunity to see what else has been said about a topic and explore how you can contribute to the conversation.

Use UCSB Library Search to find print and e-books, journals, and much more. 

The search box directs you to the Simple Search for the UCSB Library Search tool.

Typing one or more words into   this search box  will  return results that contain all of your specified terms.

Narrow your search results by "resource type" or date or use the Advanced Search  to limit your search from the start or add additional filters.

Finding Books and Journals

UCSB Library uses Library of Congress Subject Terms to describe materials. (Think standardized hashtags for subjects and topics.) Subject Terms can be useful for exploring the library's collections quickly. Always pay attention   to the subject terms listed on the records for books you are interested in.

Common Subject Terms (SU):

 "motion pictures" (more powerful that searching film, cinema, movies, etc...)

 "motion picture theaters"

 "motion picture audiences"

"social media" see also: "internet" or "digital media"

 "television broadcasting"

 "television programs"

 "video games"  see also: "computer games" or "electronic games"

Library of Congress Call Number Ranges (Browsing) PN1990-PN1992.92 Broadcasting
 PN1991-PN1991.9 Radio broadcasts
 PN1992-PN1992.92 Television broadcasts
 PN1993-PN1999 Motion pictures
 TR845-TR899 Cinematography, Motion pictures