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PHIL 2272: Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures (Di Summa-Knoop)

Getting Started

Spring 2017


Getting Started

Use this guide to find scholarly resources—books, articles, background sources—as well as strategies for improving searches, evaluating web sources, and formatting citations.

If you have any questions or need additional help, please visit in person when the library is open, contact a librarian online any time, or email me directly: jmercurio [at]

For those new to writing on films, you might find useful this introduction to film analysis:

Course Texts

Background Sources

Use these selected sources to find background information on your topic.

Below are collections of online encyclopedias and dictionaries that cover many disciplines.

Film Theory

Find Articles

Use these selected databases to find articles on your topic.

Resources for Philosophy

Resources for Film & TV

Selected Multidisciplinary Databases

Find Books & Related Media

Books (print and electronic) can help you to get overviews on broad topics and to identify additional sources (among other things).

Find books owned by Fairfield using the library catalog. To find books not owned by Fairfield, use WorldCat and then and request delivery the item through interlibrary services.

Keyword searching is often effective, especially if you utilize these tips.  For example, you might search for "philosophy of film" as a phrase.  However, different authors might use different terms to describe the same topic.  To avoid this problem, you can use subject headings—standardized tags that group related sources—to find additional books on your topic. For example:

Tracing Citations

Check footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies in relevant resources to find additional, older scholarship.

To find newer resources that cite your particular book or article, enter the title in Google Scholar and click on "cited by" link beneath the item's description.  You can then refine your search further by adding keywords.

Web Searching

Searches on the Open Web can often return irrelevant or non-scholarly results; however, search engines can also be useful tools for discovering data, some scholarly sources, and related texts.

Use these search tips to improve your web searching.  Remember to critically evaluate your sources before using them in your project.

Some sample searches:

Streaming Video

Key Journals

Links to some of the most important journals in film studies:

Citing Your Sources

The links below point to brief informational guides for creating accurate citations. For more complete information, consult the original books at the library (see call numbers below) or contact a librarian.

Questions about Citations? Save time, ask a Librarian!

Citation Managers

the Zotero logo

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a standalone application that uses browser connectors to save full text, organize sources, and create citations. Click the logo to see more info!

Refworks logo

ATTENTION: Please note that the Library will be ending its subscription to Refworks in July 2022. For more information, see our Refworks-to-Zotero transfer guide.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center, located in the main level of the DiMenna-Nyselius library, will help you with your writing. Tutors will work with you to improve essays, research papers, oral presentations, and more!

Schedule an appointment online or contact them by e-mail at