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Visual Culture and Film Studies: Reference

This subject guide describes the University of Waterloo Library's resources and services that support research in Visual Culture.

About this Section

The section includes two sub-pages:

Online Reference

The Online Reference Shelf provides links to electronic reference works.

What are Reference Works and Why Should I Use Them?

Reference works may be general or discipline-specific. Types include:

  • encyclopedias
  • dictionaries
  • biographical sources
  • guides
  • handbooks
  • manuals

They are useful during the early stages of your research to provide foundational Information, such as

  • definitions of terms and the terminology appropriate for your topic
  • verification of factual information
  • overviews on your topic
  • background information and the broad context of your topic
  • establishing a coherent organizational structure for your work

Print Reference Works for Film Studies


The Waterloo Reference collection is located in the Dana Porter Library, on the Main Floor

In-Library Use Only

Non-circulating; reference material cannot be taken out of the library (except by special request)

Shelf Arrangement

Organized according to the Library of Congress Classification outline; 
Film Studies titles are primarily in the call number range PN1993-1999

  Library of Congress call number range for Film Studies  


Encyclopedia of Early Cinema

Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film
Ref PN1995.9.D6 E53 Porter
3 volumes

Film Quotations : 11,000 Lines Spoken on Screen, Arranged by Subject, and Indexed
Ref PN1994.9.N69 Porter

Magill’s Cinema Annual
Ref PN1993.3 .M34 Porter
in-depth retrospective of significant domestic and foreign films; published annually; library has 1982 to the present

Magill’s Survey of Cinema, Foreign Language Films
Ref PN1993.45 .M34 Porter
8 volumes

Magill’s Survey of Cinema--Silent Films
Ref PN1993.45 .E53 Porter
explores the first 25 years of cinema's development, from the early 1890s to the mid-1910s