chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
email:; phone: 617.627.2057.
Tisch Library, Tufts University

Introduction to Film Studies

Research Sources & Tips







Background Information

Reserves and Books

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources


I. Background Information

How to Read a Film

Films and Filmmakers

History of Film


Dictionary of Film Terms: the Aesthetic Companion to Film Art. / Frank Eugene Beaver. Ref. PN1993.45 .B33 2006

Cinema Studies: the key Concepts. / Susan Hayward. PN1993.45 H36 2006


Film Art: an Introduction. / David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson.
PN1995 .B617 2008 ; DVD at Circulation. 

Becoming Film Literate: the Art and Craft of Motion Pictures. PN1994 .L595 2005

How to Read a Film: the World of Movies, Media, and Multimedia: Language, History, Theory. PN1994 .M59 2008

Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. PN1994 .M364 2004

Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory. edited by Roberta E Pearson and Philip Simpson.



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers (online)

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. / David Thomson. Ref. PN1998.2 .T49 2002


Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings, and Series . Oversize: PN1993.5.A1 S555 2002

Blockbusters: a Reference Guide to Film Genres. PN1995 .G663 2006


Filmakers Library Online (streaming video of award-winning documentaries)

UCLA Film & Television Archive




A World History of Film. Oversize: PN1993.5.A1 S555 2002


II. Reserves and Books

A. Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

B. Sample Searches:

(note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)


1. Course Reserves


2. Tufts Libraries Catalog

3. WorldCat (beyond Tufts)


Path of Discovery in the Catalog

1. Find a title/author (assigned readings/Course Reserves);

2. Note the descriptive language of the Catalog record.

3. Use that language in further searches


e.g. Click on subject/author in the record to see further results and related topics.


Title Avatar [videorecording] / Twentieth Century Fox; written and directed by James Cameron; produced by James Cameron, Jon Landau; a Twentieth Century Fox presention in association with Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Film Partners; director of photography, Mauro Fiore; executive producers, Colin Wilson, Laeta Kalogridis.
Publisher Beverly Hills, CA.: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment: Lightstorm Entertainment, c2010.
Subject Human-alien encounters -- Drama.
Extraterrestrial beings -- Drama.
  Life on other planets -- Drama.
  Pandora (Imaginary place) -- Drama.
Genre Action and adventure films
  Science fiction films

Fantasy films



1. By Country


motion pictures Iran


2. Regional and Geopolitical


Motion pictures Arab (a region)

Motion pictures -- Developing countries. (geopolitical)

Motion pictures -- Middle East.


3. Filmmaker


Bunuel Luis


4. A Movement


New Wave Films


5. Plots and Themes


motion pictures plots themes


6. Genres

film genres


animated films

biographical films

documentary films

Documentary-style films

fantasy films

film adaptations

film noir

historical films

horror films

road films

and more .

7. Topics

love in motion pictures

Intercultural communication in motion pictures

Emigration and immigration in motion pictures.

Tip: find your movie in the Catalog, and learn the special language for genres/themes.


Advanced Keyword search, limiting to books:


On the topic of diaspora/exile and cinema:


Material Type:


Tips: 1. Or and ( ) to search any or all of the words; 2. film* searches film, films, etc.



on the topic of "Holocaust Film":


Material Type:


III. Journal Articles and Popular Press

A. Subject Databases for Journal Articles

B. Popular Press:

C. Finding Full Text

1. JSTOR and Project Muse

Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.


Expand your search into more databases and from various perspectives

2. Academic Search Premier  
All subjects; a convenient Quick Start.


3. Film & Television and Mass Media

Limit Your Results


4. When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.


5. Movie Reviews

Find collection of reviews by film critics in the Tufts Catalog:

motion pictures reviews


Or, find movie reviews by a particular critic

1. Current:


Book, Movie, Music, Play, And Video Reviews (in LexisNexis)

Factiva (more international coverage)

Alt-PressWatch (1970 -present)

Ethnic NewsWatch (1959-present)


2. Historical


Times Digital Archive  (1785 - 1985)

New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)

Art Index Retrospective   (1929- 1982)


Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)

American Periodicals (1740 - 1940)

British Humanities Index (1962- )
British Periodicals (1680s - 1930s)




     Some of the oldest continuously published magazines in America, including American Spectator, Commentary, Commonweal, Dissent, Harpers Magazine, NACLA, The Nation, The National Review, The New Republic, New York Review, and The New Yorker.


1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


3. A few core journals:

Performing Arts Journal The Cinema Journal Film and History Film HistoryFilm Quarterly The Velvet Light TrapWide Angle Journal of Film and Video Discourse Camera Obscura Framework the Journal of Cinema and Media The Moving ImageProjection Screen Quarterly Review of Film and Video


IV. Writing and Citing

Writing Help

Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Film by Timothy Corrigan. Ref: PN1995 .C66 2010

Writing About Film (Dartmouth Writing Program)


Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors



Chicago Style Manual

MLA Style