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MCOM 283: The Development of Film: MCOM 283- Dolber

Course Information

MCOM 283: The Development of Film  (Spring 2014)   URL:  

Professor Brian Dolber; Librarian Kay Benjamin,

Finding Good Quality Web pages

To insure that you find the best and most authoritative information on the web, follow these suggestions: 

  1.  Limit searches to .gov and .edu:

To do this add site:gov or site: edu to any web search.

  2.  Use only key words and place phrases inside " ":

"close encounters of the third kind"

"social injustice" and "to kill a mockingbird"

Researching Social Issues During a Specified Time Period

Lots of timelines, chronologies, and day-by-day sources to get an overview of what was happening around the world at the time.

Chronicle of the 20th Century                          REF D 422 .C33 (only to 1987)
Day by Day, the Forties                                  REF D 427 .L4
Day by Day, the Fifties                                   REF D 842.5  .M47 1979
Day by Day, the Sixties                                   REF D 842.5  .P27 1983
Day by Day, the Seventies                               REF D 848  .L4 1988
Day by Day, the Eighties                                REF D 848 .M45 1995
Day by Day, the Nineties                                REF D 856 .A93 2004

What They Said…                                            REF PN 1993 .N465 (1896-1979)
          Quotes from each year by well-known individuals - categorized (e.g. political, economic, etc.)

World Almanac                                               Reference Office Room 109 REF AY 64 .W89 (1910-present)
          Pick the year of your film. Look in the front of the almanac for the pages that review the      
          previous year’s events, usually at the front of the book. You may need to look at earlier years, as well.

The People's Almanac                                 REF AG 106 .P46 1975

New York Times Archive, 1851-2009

This is the full text of New York Times back to the first issue. Use the Advanced Search to set the dates and search for key words (e.g. film industry). From the results list you can scan the titles to get a sense of what was making news at the time.

Recommended Timelines on the Web

To find timelines and events for specific years and regions of the world, use a web search engine (Google). Search terms to use: world events timeline or u.s. events timeline. Add the year or decade (i.e. 1940 or 1960s) to your search to narrow it.

Where to Start: Finding Information Using Library Research Tools


This is default search on the library home page. This will search across many library's databases and the library catalog, finding articles and books in a single search. 

The results from a search will be very large; use the limiters on the left side of the page to refine and narrow your results. The most useful of the limiters are listed below:

  • Type: Select to narrow the results to only "Academic Journals" or "Magazines" or "Books."
  • Subject:  Click on "Show More" to see a list of all the subject categories. You can select multiple subjects. Subjects at the top represent the largest number of results. Subjects at the bottom will give the fewest results.
  • Geography: Useful if you wish to restrict your results to a certain country or region of the world.
  • Location: If you are looking for books you can limit to print or electronic owned by Milne Library, among other things.
  • Source: Click on "Show More" for a complete list of every database in which results were found.

This is a good starting place for research, but you will want to use the databases (for articles) and catalogs (for books) listed below for more in-depth and precise searching.

Periodicals Defined

  • Periodicals are publications issued at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) such as newspapers, magazines, and journals.
  • Many periodicals are originally published in print form (available at newsstands and through subscription). The library subscribes to databases that  offer an electronic version of the text of selected articles from many periodicals. This is content that you will not find for free using Google.
  • See the “Types of Periodicals” tab above for a chart that shows the differences between scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals and popular magazines.

Finding Periodical Articles: Key Databases for Communication Arts & Mass Media

All of the following databases are linked from the library home page under the Databases tab.  For best results use the Advanced Search features of any database.

Selected Indexes to Articles in Popular Magazines, Trade Journals, Scholarly Periodicals, Newspapers and News Transcripts

Use the link Databases by Subject. Choose the appropriate subject (Communication Arts) and examine the list of index/database titles and accompanying descriptions. Look for a check box on the search screen to limit a search to Peer-Reviewed, Academic, or Scholarly articles.  

Finding an Article from a Citation

If you have the citation for a periodical article (article title, journal title, date, pages, etc.) follow these steps:

  •        use the Journals tab on the top of the library home page
  •         type in the title of the journal or magazine
  •         look for that title in the list and follow the link to the database(s)
  •         follow the links to the correct issue of the periodical OR
  •         locate a "search" box to type in the title of the article
  •         If the library subscribes to the periodical in print or microform, this will be indicated as well. Follow the link(s) to see what years the library
            subscribes to.

Finding Books

Books can be found using library catalogs. Milne Library's "classic catalog" includes both print and links to the full text of electronic books.