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Moving Image Section--Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division


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Research Methodology





Catalogs and Finding Aids

The primary tools for identifying materials in Motion Picture collections and for creating filmographies include the following catalogs and guides which are available in the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room.

  • The Film and Television Catalog is a card catalog of moving image materials, most of which are available for viewing. Approximately 120,000 cards, arranged by title, provide shelf location number and basic physical description. Miscellaneous card files arranged at the end of the title file include the Directors File, an incomplete listing by director of feature films, and the Newsreel Catalog, a list of holdings of American newsreels selected as copyright deposits, 1942-1967. The catalog was closed in 1986.
  • The Library of Congress Online Catalog contains cataloging records created by the division since 1986 and is searchable by virtually any keyword in the entry. Only a small percentage of motion pictures or television broadcasts have been cataloged using Library of Congress subject headings. To gain access to the online catalog, see the Library of Congress Web site at <> and for searching tips, see Searching LC Catalogs.
  • MAVIS, an online database, contains specialized inventory and tracking records for certain of the division's nitrate, safety, video, and paper holdings. Only items that have been preserved as safety reference prints or video viewing copies can be screened. MAVIS is currently available only in the reading room.
  • The Dictionary Catalog contains cards for safety films cataloged from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. It provides additional access points by added entry and subject heading. Converted records for these films are also available in the Library's online catalog, where they are identified as “[from old catalog]” records.
  • Early Motion Pictures: The Paper Print Collection in the Library of Congress (Washington: Library of Congress, 1985; Z663.36.E27) [catalog record] describes paper print holdings (see Paper Print Collection).
  • The George Kleine Collection of Early Motion Pictures in the Library of Congress: A Catalog (Washington: Library of Congress, 1980; Z663.36 .G46) [catalog record] describes 456 motion pictures produced primarily in the United States and Italy between 1898 and 1926 (see George Kleine Collection).
  • The Theodore Roosevelt Association Film Collection: A Catalog (Washington: Library of Congress, 1986; Z663.36.T47 1986) [catalog record] describes 318 films released between 1897 and 1934 that focus on the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt (see Theodore Roosevelt Collection).
  • Three Decades of Television: A Catalog of Television Programs Acquired by the Library of Congress, 1949-1979 (Washington: Library of Congress, 1989; Z663.36.A13 1989) [catalog record], a book catalog of programs produced for broadcast television and acquired by the Library before the end of 1979, includes more than 14,000 series, serials, telefeatures, specials, and documentaries; daytime and primetime programs; network, DuMont, and syndicated broadcasts; and educational material from NET and PBS. This catalog is not a comprehensive list of our television holdings for 1949-1979.
  • Guides and Finding Aids have been created by the division's reference staff to assist researchers in locating items on various popular topics. Of special interest for women's issues are the guides on “Women's Suffrage,” “Labor,” and “Discovery and Exploration.”
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