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PEFA 1216 Research Guide: Canadian Film Studies: Books & Background Information


Books offer an introduction to or overview of a topic. Reference books, such as encyclopedias and handbooks, are good starting points for research.  They may be available in print or online, and can help you refine your topic and select words and phrases (search terms) to use in your searches.

Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film is available for in-Library use at the New Westminster campus, while the Canadian Film Encyclopedia is online.

Use the Library Catalogue to find books on your topic.  Start with a KEYWORD search using words and phrases that describe your topic.  Many books will have a chapter devoted to a particular film, director or genre, and keyword searches will help identify these chapters.

When you find a book that addresses your topic well, make note of the SUBJECTS assigned to it. They will be useful in finding more information on the same topic.  Here are some examples of SUBJECTS that may be useful to you:

Feature Films                   Film Criticism
Motion Pictures                 Foreign Films
Silent Films                      Motion Pictures -- History
Motion Picture Industry     Motion Picture Producers and Directors

You can also use a director's name as a subject.  Be sure to enter the last name first, if doing a SUBJECT search.  To search for films directed by a specific person or starring a particular actor, do an AUTHOR search.

Example:    Egoyan, Atom  

Call Number Areas to Browse Through

To see what's on the shelves in the Douglas College Library, have a look at the following call numbers on the bookshelves (on the upper level at the New West campus) and the DVD/video section (on the main floor):


PN 1993
PN 1994
PN 1995
PN 1995.9  (Many feature films are classed in this area, by subcategory.)
PN 1997
PN 1998
PN 1998.3  (Film criticism by director.)

Boolean Logic & Other Search Tips

Watch this short video on Boolean logic to see how you can combine your topic with other keywords or subjects in order to improve your search results.

If there are alternate spellings of your search terms, join them with the word "OR":

                                             theater OR theatre                          

To narrow the focus of your search, add another search concept using the word "AND":

                                         Hitchcock AND suspense                

Think of synonyms or related concepts for your topic. Join them with the word "OR".

                                   feature films OR motion pictures

Use the truncation symbol * to include variations of a word root:

                          direct* will find direct, directed, direction, director, etc.

Search for phrases enclosed in quotation marks:  "film noir"

Try a broader or more specific search term, if required.  Instead of  film theory, try a narrower term like feminist film theory.