English-Language Film Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • The collection encompasses: (1) scholarly monographs and journals related to the study of English-language narrative (i.e., fictional) cinema and television; (2) scholarly monographs and journals on the general history and theory of narrative film and television; (3) narrative films and television programs originating in the English-speaking world; and (4) documentary films related to the production, history, and theory of English-language narrative films and television programs.


  • The collection is intended to support the teaching and research needs of undergraduates, graduate students, academic staff, and faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences, with particular consideration for the departments of English; Performing and Media Arts; and Comparative Literature, as well as several related interdisciplinary programs, specifically: American Studies; Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies; the Institute for Comparative Modernities; Medieval Studies; and the Society for the Humanities.


collection strength

  • While secondary printed material on English-language narrative film has traditionally been collected at study level, acquisition of the films themselves was driven largely by immediate curricular needs and constituent requests. In the last decade, more systematic efforts have been made to acquire classic and canonical films from the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland; the films of major directors; independently produced American films; and notable examples of genres such as film noir, the western, science fiction, and literary adaptations.

collection level

  • study

geographical guidelines

  • Geographical focus includes countries where English is the predominant spoken and written language, including Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, and most Commonwealth countries. English-language material specific to narrative films of the South Asian diaspora in the U.K, United States, and Commonwealth countries is acquired by the Curator of the South Asia Collection in Kroch Library.

areas of significant geographic coverage

subnational region

  • Wales 

country (self-governing)

  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • Great Britain 
  • Ireland 
  • New Zealand 
  • Scotland 
  • United States of America 

language guidelines

  • Holdings of secondary works (monographs, journals) on general film theory and history include all major European languages, though non-English language titles on Anglophone narrative films are generally not acquired unless specifically requested.


  • English 

chronological guidelines

  • The collection spans the history of film from the earliest silent productions of the late 19th century through the contemporary period.


  • This policy excludes the acquisition of: (1) documentary (non-fiction) films not directly related to the theory, craft, and history of English-language narrative film and television; (2) textbooks (if designated as such by the publisher); (3) publications and films in non-European languages; (4) self-published or vanity press books (unless the author has a direct connection with Cornell); (5) non-Cornell theses and dissertations; (6) musical films/television programs, soundtracks, and their attendant scholarly materials (these are collected and housed at the Music Library); (7) manuals and technical publications on film and television production (unless requested); and (8) popular (i.e., mass-market) film magazines and fan publications. Published scripts are selected only for canonical films, or by request.

material types

  • Newly acquired material may be in either physical (book, serial, microform, CD-ROM) or virtual (e-journal, database) format. Audiovisual material (DVD, VHS, CD-ROM) includes narrative films and documentaries relevant to the study of English-language narrative film. Preferred format for films is DVD, unless only VHS is available. Blu-ray disks are not routinely acquired at this time. For new serial subscriptions the default mode is electronic access only (if available) unless physical issues present visual content better suited for research or the print format is specifically requested by faculty and graduate students.


housed in

  • Library Annex
  • Olin Library
  • Uris Library

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, includes film and video art.
  • The DVD collections (including Asia) are housed in the Dean Room of Uris Library. VHS material is kept at the Library Annex.

related library subject collection


library contact

  • Muratori, Fred -  Bibliographer for English-language Literature, Theater, and Film