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Encyclopedias help you figure out the who, what & where of a topic. Encyclopedias and dictionaries can provide background information and can be used to identify key people, events and dates which can then be used as search terms for finding additional information. Many also provide a jumpstart on your research by listing related readings. The resources listed here provide a sampling of the many background sources available on cinema. They include both print and online resources
Also search for film related topics in these three online collections: Pop Culture Universe, Gale Virtual Reference & Oxford Reference Online.
This seminal 10 volume history covers from 1895 to 1989. Print copies are available in Suzzallo Reference and in Odegaard [PN1993.5.U6 H55 1990]. The online version of each volume is listed below.