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Research Guides

CIN201: Film Cultures 1: Art & Industry

A comprehensive guide to for finding the best primary source materials (1895-1968) for your Cinema Studies assignment.

Specific Collections in this Platform

Media History Digital Library

Media History Digital Library is an open-access collection of film and broadcasting magazines from various libraries and private collectors. The collection is currently hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has over 2 million digitized pages.


  • Be patience, MHDL's search interface (The Lantern) can take some time to load on your browser. 
  • Technical issues?
    • Try searching directly in the publication through Internet Archive. 
    • All of the publications in Media History Digital Library are linked and stored online within Internet Archive (scroll down for link and tips).

Resource types on this platform include:

  • Trade and Industry Magazines
  • Pressbooks
  • Fan Magazines
  • Technical Journals 

The following collections could be amazing resources for CIN201 assignment with materials falling within the require time period (1895-1968) across various topics

Hollywood Studio System - "The periodicals in this collection chart the studio system during its rise, the transition to sound, the Great Depression, the World War II years, and postwar decline. The periodicals present a variety of points of view within the industry, from the production-oriented Hollywood Reporter to the exhibitor-oriented publication Harrison's Reports, a 'reviewing service free from the influence of film advertising.'"

Early Cinema - Collection includes fan magazines, industry publications for exhibitors and distributors, and more

Broadcasting & Recorded Sound - "The magazine Radio Broadcasting chronicles radio's early adoption by hobbyists and the debates about how the medium should be organized and regulated."

Fan Magazines - "Fan magazines gave audiences a way to experience the magic of the movies beyond the theatre. The magazines also gave producers a way to promote their stars and coming films."

Global Cinema - "As a global history, media history has also been greatly influenced by the course of international events." This select range of publications cover a variety of locations: China, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland), India, Japan, United Kingdom. If you would like to use materials that are in other languages, please confirm use with your TAs or instructor.  

Year Book - "Year Books or annuals documented the accomplishments and participants in specific industries. The Year Books for the motion picture industry are especially important for historians: for each year they catalog films released, highlight events, provide comprehensive listings of industry companies and personnel, reprint company financial statements, and contain evocative advertisements from industry suppliers, vendors, producers, stars and directors. ... There were two subcategories of year books - booking guides and studio directories. Booking guides helped exhibitors select films for their theaters, and often provided indexes to reviews in the affiliated magazine. Studio directories served to remind casting directors and others of performers under contract and freelance supporting players.

Non-Theatrical Film - "The educational possibilities of motion pictures were recognized early in the development of motion pictures and by the 1920s the "Visual Education" movement was established and extremely active. Spurred by the introduction of the cheaper to use, nonflammable 16mm format in 1923, the reuse of existing films for education and creation of new films for the classroom were part of a parallel motion picture industry."

Technical Journals - Publications that cover "improvements in film stocks, sound recording, color reproduction, cameras, lenses, lighting and other hardware". 

Pressbooks - "Pressbooks reveal the multifaceted approaches used by film distributors to work with exhibitors to maximize the reach and profit of their films. Early on, pressbooks tended to be short and focused on pre-written columns that theaters could submit to their local newspapers to promote the film; later, they ballooned in size, were printed (at least partially) in splashy colors, and included advertising images, posters, heralds, ideas for promotional events, and so forth. ... The collection of pressbooks digitized here includes a wide swath of [United Artists (UA)] films from the 1920s-1950s."

Resources Types in the Platform


  • Be patience, MHDL's search interface (The Lantern) can take some time to load on your browser. 
  • Technical issues?
    • Try searching directly in the publication through Internet Archive. 
    • All of the publications in Media History Digital Library are linked and stored online within Internet Archive (scroll down for link and tips).

MHDL has:

  • Trade and Industry Magazines
  • Pressbooks
  • Fan Magazines
  • Technical Journals 


Search Basics for this Platform

Search Tips for MHDL Lantern 

View or read the following tips for searching because MHDL requires different approaches than Google and UofT LibrarySearch

1) MHDL Video Tutorial available via University of Oregon 


2) Basic Search in Lantern 


3) Using Advanced Search (allows for more specific search results) 
Access the Articles / Ads / Images - Internet Archive Interface Walkthrough
Careful when selecting to DOWNLOAD
  • Select to download the article, not the entire volume.
    • Each volume contains all the issues / magazines that were published in that time span so the file size is VERY large. It's better to flip and read through the publications online and capture the content you need (e.g., few pages from one issue of the publication, advertisement on a page)
  • Some entries may be for one page of a multi page article, click through to see the full page online.

Filter Search Results

Refine / Narrow your Results with Search Filters
  • Filter out unwanted information for the best search results
    • Locate the Filter Menu on the far left side of your search results and select the following: 
    • Date - Click on the filter and limit the time range by entering the dates or sliding the markers for your date range.
    • Title 
  • Don't see any articles in the first page of search results?
    • Be aware that the first results might be advertisements or images because MHDL Lantern looks for the most mentions of your search term in the documents (e.g., articles, photo spreads, advertisements, lists of films or vendors, etc.).
    • Try skipping past the first few pages of the search results. 

Save Sources and Searches

Since items from the MHDL are accessed through Internet Archive, the only way to save the item is on Internet Archive. You can create an account and favourite the item, or download the item. 

  • Make sure when downloading, you only download the pages you need not the entire file. 

Cite Sources

Citation information will be found in the item description on Internet Archive. 

NOTE: Internet Archive will sometimes have multiple items together, so you may have to look in the source itself for some information. 

More Search Tips

MHDL does not use the same search approach as UofT and Google. They have their own search guide which can be found on their advanced search page. 

The Media History Digital Library uses the following search operators (according to MHDL, last accessed Jan 2024):

  • Select "match all" to require all fields.
  • Select "match any" to find at least one field.
  • Combine keywords and attributes to find specific items.
  • Use quotation marks to search as a phrase.
  • Use "+" before a term to make it required. (Otherwise results matching only some of your terms may be included).
  • Use "-" before a word or phrase to exclude.
  • Use "OR", "AND", and "NOT" to create complex boolean logic. You can use parentheses in your complex expressions.
  • Truncation and wildcards are not supported - word-stemming is done automatically.