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FILM 206: Research & Writing Methods

Finding Books

Search Omni to find books, journals, videos and other materials owned by the Library.  You can search by keywords, author, title or subject headings.

To find a specific known item, search by title or author.  To find books on a topic, either try a subject or keyword search.

Subject Headings vs Keyword Searching

Subject headings allow you to search for resources on a particular author or topic and are often more productive than keyword searches. 

Keyword searches work best if you have multiple concepts or topics and need only a few books. 

For a comprehensive subject search, search with subject headings as well as keywords.

Searching Omni

Start with a keyword search, but expect to revise it. 

Keyword Searching TIPS

Search Technique  

What It Does

quotation marks

Searches for exact phrase

Truncation *

Searches for all forms of a word

Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)

Lets you broaden or narrow your search


The first step in formulating a search strategy is to take your topic and break it into discrete concepts or keywords. Identify key words and phrases and brainstorm alternate spellings, related terms, broader terms, or narrower terms.

Topic:  male representation in martial arts films

Search for keywords "Motion Pictures" or "Cinema" or "Film" to get the broadest possible view of the material. Consider other synonyms for male.
(masculinity OR men OR male) AND (films OR "motion pictures")  AND "martial arts"
Other searches to consider: 
For works about a particular person (director, actor, etc.), do an subject search, e.g. lee ang

To search for a movie, search the film title as either a title or keyword search and select Resource Type: Video/Film.
To find books on a film topic, either try a subject or keyword search.
Subject Searching
Most film-related books are given the subject heading motion pictures or motion picture [noun]. Certain subject headings use film in the subject field - usually for genre terms. Some books (mostly French) have the word cinema in the subject field. 
If you are looking for criticism or the technique of motion picture reviewing, use film criticism
If you are interested in movies made in a particular country, e.g. chinese cinema, use "motion pictures" and the name of the country, e.g. motion pictures china
If you are interested in a particular type of movie (genre), try using "films" in your search, e.g.martial arts films, silent films, western films
If you are interested in the technical aspects of making movies and their projection onto the screen, use cinematography.



Selected Subject Headings

Animated films
Documentary films
Feminism and motion pictures
Film adaptions
Film criticism United States History
Foreign films
Foreign language films
Martial arts China
Martial arts films
Motion picture audiences History
Motion picture producers and directors
Motion pictures actors and actresses China
Motion pictures Production and direction
Motion pictures Social aspects
Motion pictures and globalization
Motion pictures and transnationalism
Sex role in motion pictures
Women in motion pictures

Browsing the Library Shelves

Browsing the library shelves is another strategy for locating information on a topic. Most books related to Film  and Media Studies are located in the call number range PN1990 - PN1999 on the 4th floor of Stauffer Library.
Use the following call numbers as a guide.
PN1990  Broadcasting
PN1991  Radio broadcasts
PN1992  Television broadcasts
PN1993  Motion pictures in general, by
PN1994  Motion pictures, Laws....
PN1995  Motion pictures- specific themes,
               topics and genres
PN1996  Screenwriting
PN1997  Screenplays
PN1998  Biographies about directors,
               producers, etc.
PN2287, PN2308, PN2329  Actors, etc
TR          Photography, cinematography
Z5784     Bibliographies on film studies