UCL home page



UCL Library Services


Magnifying glass image
Explore the Library’s books, journals and online resources. Find out more


Subject guides: Film studies

Film Studies section

This guide gives information about:

Follow @UCLArtLibrary on Twitter to keep up to date with new resources.


Explore is the Library's search facility for accessing print and electronic materials. It incorporates the catalogue of books and journal titles with access to selected journal contents, achive materials, exam papers and the research publications repository.

Printed collections

Main Library

The Film Studies books are shelved within the Art collection in the Main Library (Wilkins Building). A classmark (shelf location) beginning with the word ART refers to a book on the open shelves.

All Film Studies books have the classification ART Q. The main sections are:

  • Film and television: general ART Q
  • Philosophy and psychology ART QB
  • Society and cinema ART QC
  • The industry and its economics ART QE
  • Production ART QH
  • Technical aspects ART QJ
  • Genres ART QK
  • History (including film in specific countries) ART QM
  • People in film and television ART QN


An item with the location STORE refers to a work housed away from the UCL Main Library. To obtain these, you will need to make a request via Explore or fill in the online store request form. Most but not all items in Store are borrowable and can usually be collected from the Science Library Assistance Desk from 3pm the following day.


The library subscribes to Film Studies periodicals in both print and electronic format. Electronic titles can be accessed via Explore. Print periodicals are shelved in the South Junction reading rooms within the Art Periodicals collection. These are for reference use only and cannot be removed from the library but articles may be photocopied, subject to copyright restrictions. Older titles are kept in Stores (see above). Explore will tell you which issues of a periodical are available electronically and give you the location of any print holdings.

Selected periodical contents can also be searched in Explore. More extensive searches can be undertaken by using one of several abstracting and indexing databases to which the Library provides access, or by accessing the electronic version of the journal where available (see below.)


See UCL Library Services' general information on accessing theses here. In addition, ADIT: The Art & Design Index to Theses is a comprehensive index of postgraduate research theses in art and design subjects in the UK developed by a consortium of UK higher education institutions.

Film Collection

Feature films on DVD are are shelved in the Main Library Issue Desk area and VHS tapes are shelved in the Main Library photocopying room. DVDs are available for either short (up to 2 days) or one week loan and are clearly marked as such. A small number are for reference use only and must be used in the viewing room which is adjacent to the Main Library Reference Room (see below).

Titles can be located using Explore by searching the library catalogue and refining results by Type to 'Audio Visual'. Feature films are arranged alphabetically on the shelves by nationality of the director. For example:

DVD FRA:TRU (France : Truffaut)
DVD GBR:LOA (Great Britain : Loach)
DVD GER:HER (Germany : Herzog)
DVD SPA:ALM (Spain : Almodovar)
DVD USA:LYN (United States : Lynch)

The collection also contains sections of short film anthologies (DVD ANT), documentaries (DVD DOC) and television series (DVD TV).

Main Library Viewing Room

There is a viewing room in the Main Library which has facilities for DVD, VHS, Blu-ray and audio CD formats.

Top of the pageTop of page

Electronic collections

Electronic resources

Material held in electronic form is available to registered members of UCL; if you are offsite, you will usually need your user ID/password to gain access. Explore is the first point of access for electronic resources, but more in-depth searching of subject specific databases can be done from the Databases section on the Library website.

Databases and e-journal collections

Journal articles in either print or electronic format can be located using either an abstracting and indexing database or an e-journal collection. Some of these resources are entirely full text, some provide a mixture of full text articles and citations, while others are abstracting and indexing databases, providing references to texts from other sources (both electronic and print).

Individual e-journals can be located by title using the library catalogue via Explore or via one of the databases listed below. When using the library catalogue to locate e-journals, always check the holdings statement to see which issues are available electronically.

* indicates full text resource

  • Art, Design & Architecture Collection (ProQuest)*: a collection of abstracting & indexing and full text resources, including:
    • ARTbibliographies Modern: covering modern and contemporary art from 1974 onwards.
    • Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI): abstracts and bibliographic records for articles, news items, and reviews published in design and applied arts periodicals from 1973 onwards.
    • International Bibliography of Art: Covers literature published from 2008 onwards on European art from late antiquity to the present, American art from the colonial era to the present, and global art since 1945. Succeeds the Bibliography of the History of Art (literature on western art published 1990-2007).
  • Art Source (Ebsco)*: a comprehensive art and design resource consisting of the following databases, as well as an additional 100 full text titles and image collections:
    • Art Full Text*: index of abstracts and selected full text of articles from art periodicals published throughout the world. Index 1984-, abstracts 1994-, full text 1997-.
    • Art Retrospective: index of art periodicals published throughout the world, 1929-1984. See Art Full Text for subsequent abstracts and full texts from this index.
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index: indexes journals published in all areas of humanities since 1975. Part of the Web of Science.
  • British Humanities Index: Index of published literature in the humanities, covering humanities journals and weekly magazines, as well as quality newspapers published in the UK and the United States.
  • Film Indexes Online: gateway to film resources, consisting of:
    • FIAF Plus*: International Index to Film periodicals, covering over 330 periodicals from 1972 onwards.
    • Film Index International: Index to over over 120,000 films and 700,000 personalities, plus coverage of international film awards and prizes, searchable plot summaries, full cast and crew lists, and extensive bibliographies. Produced by the BFI.
    • American Film Institute Catalog: authoritative resource of American film information for the years 1893–1972, produced by the American Film Institute.
  • JSTOR*: full text archive of important scholarly journals, including over 100 titles covering the arts.
  • Project Muse*: full text of journals, mainly in the humanities and social sciences.

A full list of databases with significant Film content can be found here. Follow this link for a complete list of the databases available at UCL Library Services. As well as the Art related databases, Anthropology covers film, media and cultural studies.

Online newspaper archives

Newspaper archives are an excellent source of information on film history, including reviews and critical writing.

  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: a collection of US and UK newspapers, 1791-2007. Includes the archive of The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003) as well as many major US titles such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.
  • Nexis UK: current newspapers from around the world, from the 1980s to the present.
  • Times Digital Archive: full text of The Times (London) 1785-1985.

Audio visual databases

The library also provides access to some online film archives available only for use in education. For further freely available web-based resources see here.

  • BFI Screenonline: encyclopedia of British film and television, including clips from the BFI National Archive, supplemented by contextual material from expert writers.
  • BFI InView: over 2,000 non-fiction film and television titles selected from the BFI National Archive, dating from the 20th century to the early 21st.
  • JISC Media Hub: video, image and audio resources including film archives, documentary materials, public information films, and television and cinema newsreels selected from the ITN/Reuters television archives.

Other Web resources

Top of the pageTop of page

Other libraries


UCL SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies) has a separate Film & Video Database. Books and journals are listed in Explore.

Senate House Library

Senate House Library in Malet Street is the main University of London library and any registered member of UCL can join and borrow from there. A leaflet, Film & Media Studies, is available with full details of relevant materials and their locations. There is a reference collection of European and American films on DVD, and viewing facilities. Films cannot be borrowed. Several thousand books on Film Studies are also held, although these are distributed throughout several areas of the library.

UCL students have reference access to other University of London college libraries. Those with significant Film Studies collections are Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, King's, London School of Economics, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway and SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

These joint catalogues will allow you to search the holdings of many different academic and institutional libraries at the same time:

  • COPAC: searches the catalogues of over 70 UK and Irish academic, national & specialist libraries.
  • Search25: joint catalogue for academic libraries in London, the East and South East of England.

Film Libraries in London

  • The BFI Reuben Library at BFI Southbank has a comprehensive collection of books, journals, documents and audio recordings about the world of film and television. The library is free of charge to use. The majority of items can be accessed on the day, but offsite materials need to be pre-ordered. Access to Special Collections is by appointment.
  • The BFI National Archive holds one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of film and television material, including 60,000 fiction film titles, 750,000 television titles, audio recordings, posters, scripts and more. Items from the Archive can be viewed at the BFI Southbank Mediatheque. For titles not available on DVD, or not available to view in the Library, Mediatheque, or via the Archive resources online, the BFI also administers a Research Viewing Service, for which there is a charge.
  • The Imperial War Museum's Collections catalogue includes 22,000 records of films and related materials. Film viewings can be arranged.

Please check other libraries' access requirements before visiting. Academic libraries usually do not lend short-loan materials to reference-only visitors, even for use on-site. Films come under this category.

More information about the use of other libraries is available on the Library Services website..

Top of the pageTop of page

Contact details

If you have any problems in using the Library, come to the Enquiry Desk, or ask for the subject librarian for Film Studies:

Liz Lawes
E-mail e.lawes@ucl.ac.uk
Telephone: internal: 32594; external: 020 7679 2594

Top of the pageTop of page

Last modified 01 October 2013

University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999-