Indexes and Databases help you find citations for popular and scholarly journal articles. Sometimes an index will link you directly to the full text of the article online. Otherwise, use the citation to find the periodical either in the stacks or in the microform collection. Please note that not all the articles you find citations for will be accessible through Bobcat.
Remember that articles released contemporary to a film’s release are primary sources as are reviews that are contemporary to the film you are discussing. Pressbooks, promotional materials associated with the films release and screenplays which are the text from which the films are made, these are also considered primary sources.
Primary Resources on Microfilm: Microformat (which is the overarching term for microfilm, microfiche and microcard) is basically an older version of scanning. Material was photographed and placed on durable plastic material; the material on these “films” or “cards” could then be viewed with a special machine without damaging the original. There are many wonderful Film and Media Studies resources that the Library only holds in microformat (mostly microfilm), and although most students have never used this kind of material before, there is no reason to be intimidated! There is always someone you can ask for help, either at the Microform Room located on the lower level or at the Main Reference/Information Desk (on Lower Level 2 of Bobst).
It is a good idea to start your microfilm research by consulting an index; doing so will give you a specific citation and save you hours of scrolling through years of a journal that has been scanned onto film. You can consult outside sources, like Google Scholar, the Reader’s Guide Retrospective, or even the New York and LA Times for citations on your topic in order to give you some idea of when to look for coverage on a certain topic.
Say you are doing a paper on the “Fatty” Arbuckle scandal and you want to discuss his presentation in the media between 1920 and 1930. You know the journal The Bioscope was a popular film journal at the time, but you also know that while Bobcat holds microfilm of the journal, there is no accompanying index. After doing a quick search in the index, The Historical New York Times, for articles on “Fatty Arbuckle” between 1920-1930, you are able to see that there are some ads for his films. Taking note of the date the ads ran, you can then go to The Bioscope for that week to see if there were any features or ads run on the same picture around the same time. In this way, you can also see how one phase of research can build on another.
Useful sites for locating freely available reviews online.