RESEARCH AT CENTRAL PRATT: LITERARY & FILM CRITICISM
Your research paper will be proving an original assertion about the comparative intentions of a writer and a director – a director who has re-created an author's literary work in cinematic form. The heart of this assignment is to prove a difference in thematic emphasis.
Proof of your assertion will mainly consist of: 1)your own reasoning, and 2)evidence (especially short quotes) that you find for yourself in the novel and in the film. The critical essays that you find at Pratt will simply be
used – directly or indirectly – to back up your own assertion and reasoning. Of course, in the process of reading the critical essays, you will be helped along in developing your own views about the author's and the director's intentions. However, in the final analysis, the research paper should mainly be a presentation and proof of your own interpretation, not someone else's. Short quotes from the critical essays are to be used in the research paper for supporting your arguments, not to do the talking for you. In other words, the paper must be structured according to the flow of your own analytical thoughts, not according to the thoughts of critics.
You have already found two essays (or reviews) about your chosen work of literature. The goal of your research at Central Pratt is to find at least eleven more essays – some about the literature and some about the film – for a total of thirteen critical essays (or articles). Counting the literature and the film themselves (your primary sources), altogether that adds up to fifteen sources for your research paper.
You are only allowed to use, at most, four articles from the series of books called Gale's. That's because using Gale's is very easy, and your teacher wants you to learn other, more sophisticated research methods too. Also, many students will be waiting to use Gale's, and the four-essay limit will cut down on the crowd.
To summarize, you need to find, write bibliography cards for, read, and take notes from:
A TOTAL OF AT LEAST THIRTEEN CRITICAL ESSAYS
SOME ABOUT THE DIRECTOR'S THEMATIC INTENT IN THE FILM
SOME ABOUT THE WRITER'S THEMATIC INTENT IN THE LITERATURE
NO MORE THAN FOUR FROM GALE'S
NO MORE THAN SIX FROM THE INTERNET
Please keep in mind that finding these thirteen pieces of criticism is just the beginning. Among the first thirteen articles that you find, most of them – in all probability – will not be helpful. Many will be too short and focused only on summarizing the story. Unfortunately, this is true for many of the articles on the internet. As you know, plot summaries are of no value for your research. You need longer articles that include analysis of the theme. You also need analysis of how the author and director have used characterization, symbolism, conflict, or stylistic elements (whichever is your paper's focus).
THEREFORE, YOU MUST KEEP LOOKING AND LOOKING FOR ADDITIONAL ARTICLES – UNTIL YOU FIND THIRTEEN REALLY GOOD ONES, EACH TRULY HELPFUL IN SUPPORTING ONE OF YOUR LINES OF REASONING. PLEASE DON’T STOP SEARCHING UNTIL YOU HAVE CAREFULLY TRIED ALL OF THE RESEARCH TOOLS THAT ARE EXPLAINED IN THESE DIRECTIONS.
Literary criticism is often sophisticated and hard to comprehend. Don't worry if some of it goes over your head as you begin to read the essays. Keep reading. Try to understand as much as you can. Concentrate on finding parts of the essays that are simply stated and clear in their meaning.
A WORD ABOUT SEARCH TERMS WHEN USING COMPUTER DATABASES
A common problem is getting hundreds or even thousands of “hits” when doing a search. Of course it’s too time-consuming to look at that many article titles, trying to figure out which ones are really on your topic. To avoid that headache, it’s always important to narrow your search. Suppose, for example, that your novel is Freedom Road by Howard Fast. With most databases and search engines, if you type Howard Fast, it will give you every article that has the word Howard and it will also give you every article that includes the word fast. Altogether, that would be a huge number of articles. However, for most computer databases, if you use quotation marks and type “Howard Fast” then you will be given a much shorter list of articles, only the articles that have both of those words together. That’s what you want. The same is true for your title. You should type “Freedom Road” – being sure to include the quotation marks.
COSTS FOR COPYING AND PRINTING
Before xeroxing or printing, you must put money into your SAM (Smart Access Manager) account. This can be done at any of the APMs (Automated Payment Machines). There’s one in the main lobby, just to the left of the computers. Another is in the Fine Arts Department on the 2nd floor. A third is in the Humanities Department on the 3rd floor. Pratt’s APM machines accept coins and paper money too. To use an APM machine, you need:
1) your library card and PIN number, or 2) a one-day SAM card, available free at Desk 4 in the Main Lobby.
If you have a library card, but don’t know your PIN, it would be wise to call Pratt (410-396-5325) before the day of our trip, and ask for your PIN. Yes, you can get your PIN at the library – at Desk #4 – but there may be a long line.
Even if you owe money to Pratt, you can still use an APM and put money onto your library card for printing and xeroxing. If you owe Pratt money, but don’t have a library card, you can get a one-day SAM card.
Each day, when printing from a computer, your first 5 pages are free. After that, the charge is 10¢ a page plus tax. Making copies on Pratt’s xerox machines costs a little more, 15¢ a page plus tax.
In the Periodicals Department, when making copies from microfilm, you will need to pay the librarian with cash. The charge is 20¢ a page plus tax.
PRINTING ARTICLES AT PRATT OR E-MAILING THEM TO YOURSELF
When using a computer at Pratt, you may find some full-text articles that you want. Depending upon which database you’re using, it may be possible to print the article right away. If so, the article will print on the printer at the librarian’s desk in whatever department you’re in. After it’s finished being printed, simply ask the librarian for the article – very politely, of course.
In some of the databases – like ProQuest and InfoTrac – you have a second choice. Instead of printing the article at Pratt, you can click on “E-Mail” and have the article sent to your own e-mail address. This is free,
and you can print it when you get home. There’s another possibility. If you don’t have your own e-mail account, you can e-mail an article to Poly’s library. Our school librarian will then print out the article for you when you go to see her about it, back at school. Of course, don't forget to thank her! For this method, you must politely ask Poly’s librarian, before the day of our Pratt trip, for the e-mail address to use. When e-mailing articles to Poly’s library, be sure – while you’re still at Pratt – to make a hand-written copy of the article's title, the magazine's name and date, and the page numbers. That way – since many articles may be e-mailed to Poly – you'll be able to tell our librarian exactly which article is yours. By the way, please don't send any article to Poly unless you read it on the screen and you're sure you really want it. Handling everyone’s articles, all together, will create a lot of work for our librarian, and we don't want to burden her unnecessarily.
LEVEL ONE FILM CRITICISM
Unfortunately, concerning some films, there have been few, if any, critical essays ever written. Be sure to look hard, thereby finding everything that has indeed been written about your film. If sufficient criticism of your film does exist, great. Then we'll call the use of that material a "Level One" approach to film criticism. However, if insufficient criticism exists, there are other approaches, good ones, that you can use instead (or in combination with level-one criticism).
LEVEL TWO FILM CRITICISM
There are three other options for film analysis. What Mr. Bleich calls "Level Two" is the "auteur" (a French word meaning author) approach. Taking this approach, you search for critical essays and reviews about all the other films by one director, the director who made the film you're analyzing. These articles, altogether, should offer some keen insights into your director's overall thematic concerns and overall approach to film – even if none of the articles are directly about your film. You can still quote from such articles in your research paper. Just be honest and explain, in your paper, that the critic is analyzing another film (or films) by this director, but that the critic’s analysis is also applicable to your film (if, in your judgment, that’s true).
LEVEL THREE FILM CRITICISM
If there are too few "auteur" sorts of articles, you may go to a "Level Three" approach. With this approach, you search for a number of essays that analyze, in general, the process of creating a film based on a story from literature. One such essay, a good one, is “Film and Novel” by John Howard Lawson, in his book Film: The Creative Process. The Manchel series, described later, is an excellent source for finding many essays of this type.
LEVEL FOUR FILM CRITICISM
Finally, there is the possibility of a "Level Four" approach to film criticism. With this approach, you look neither for essays about a particular film, nor about all the films of one director, nor even about comparative literary/filmic artistry. No, in "Level Four" you find essays and articles that analyze just one thematic issue, a thematic issue that's important in a number of films – in the work of more than a single director. For example, one approach to "Level Four" film research would be to find critical essays about the general thematic attitude of directors regarding women – in other words, the general depiction of women in film. Another example would be essays about the portrayal of African-Americans in film. Essays of this type may, or may not, specifically mention your film. That's no problem. What's important is that the focus of any "Level Four" essays must relate somehow to whatever you've chosen to analyze in your film.
You may use any one of these four levels. However, if "Level One" criticism about your film exists, you must find it! If you wish, you may combine two or more levels. With all these possibilities, you should have no problem finding sufficient film criticism – as long as you're willing to put in the necessary hours. The key thing is that you find film criticism which lends support, in some way, to your own analysis.
Don't forget – as you're working at the library – other students may be looking for the same indexes and source books. Please be kind-hearted and helpful in the sharing of resources. After xeroxing something, please make the original resource available to anyone else who needs it. If no one requests it, please put it back exactly where you found it.
After this introduction there are step-by-step directions. Yes, they're long. Yes, the work is hard. And yes, you will probably be frustrated at first. However, with some patience and perseverance, you should be happily surprised at your success. Your teacher is confident that you will be able to do the research – and write a really top-notch paper!
Just one favor. Please don't be lazy. You are expected to read these directions several times, carefully, before we go to the library. If you ask your teacher or a librarian for help, our first response will be to ask if you have read these directions three times. If not, you will be expected to do so, at the library, before receiving assistance.
By the way, if you pre-registered for a new library card, don't forget to ask for it. To do so, go to the Desk #4 in the main lobby. You will need to have verification of your name and address. A recent piece of mail that was sent to you (at home) will probably be fine.
IMPORTANT: Each time you find and copy an article, don't forget to get as much bibliographic information as possible. You'll need this for your bibliography cards, and for the actual bibliography in your research paper. By hand, be sure to write all bibliographic information directly on the printout – or on the xerox copy – of each article. Please be sure to do this right away, while the original article is still in your hands or still on the screen!
II. FINDING LITERARY CRITICISM
The four main research tools are the Humanities Index, the Essay and General Literature Index, Gale's, and IngentaConnect. All of these are available in the Humanities Department on the third floor.
However, if the Humanities Department gets crowded, feel free to go to any department on any of the floors. A second set of the Humanities Index can be found in the Social Science and History Department on the first floor (but it’s an incomplete set, only going to 1991). Unfortunately, when it comes to the Essay and General Literature Index and Gale's, the Humanities Department is the only place to find them. On the other hand, IngentaConnect an be accessed from any department at all. It's a computer resource – on the internet – so any of Pratt's computers will work, anywhere in the library. Feel free to work wherever you wish, on any floor, in any department. If one area is crowded, please try another.
For computers, Mr. Bleich especially recommends the Annex building. Because the Annex is newer, it’s not as well known, and therefore its departments are often less crowded, especially on the 2nd floor. To get to the Annex, go from the Main Lobby, through the Sights and Sounds Department, and then keep going. Be adventuresome! In this hallway, on the right, you’ll see a computer room where you can sign up to use a computer for more than an hour, better than elsewhere in the library. Mr. Bleich recommends going there early in the morning and – if that room’s crowded – signing up to use one of those computers later in the day. When going to the 2nd floor of the Annex, you’ll notice an in-between floor that’s not open to the public. Don’t let that confuse you. By the way, the Annex also has the newest, cleanest bathrooms – for women and men – on both floors.
To start on a computer, you may go to any department’s sign-up computer, click on the department name (for example, HUM for Humanities), and swipe your card. It will tell you which machine to use and when. Or, you can go directly to a computer that’s not in use, swipe your card, enter your PIN, and start.
HUMANITIES INDEX (Bright green volumes)
This is a listing of essays and articles that have been printed in journals (serious, scholarly magazines that don't have any pictures). It's a lot like Readers' Guide, but more academic, less popular. In separate volumes, it covers articles that have been published from 1974 to the present. Even though your chosen work of literature may have been written long before 1974, there is nevertheless a good chance that many literary critics have continued to write about it, especially if it's considered a classic. However, there's no way to know when critical articles were actually written. Therefore, since the Humanities Index does not have a cumulative index, you must check each and every year's volume separately, one at a time. Yes, that requires lots of careful work. Be persistent and methodical. Don't give up on any step of the work before trying every possibility! Remember, research is like a treasure hunt, frustrating at first, but enjoyable and rewarding for those who are persistent. Think of it as a challenging game. How about this for a motto: Research, Fun!
To be successful with the Humanities Index, look up the author's name, not the title of the literature. If you can't understand the abbreviated name of a journal, or any other abbreviation, look at the two lists of abbreviations that you'll find near the front of each volume of the Humanities Index.
Central Pratt has most of the journals that are listed in the Humanities Index. On a sheet of looseleaf paper write down the publication information for each journal article that sounds as if it may be of value for your research. The information about each article is called a citation.
HOW TO ACTUALLY GET YOUR HANDS ON JOURNALS AND MAGAZINES
With your list of citations in hand, find your way to the Periodicals Department. To get there, go to the first floor and walk through the outer area of Business, Science and Technology. Then turn right into the 1st floor section of the Periodicals area. To get to the rest of the Periodicals Department, just go upstairs.
By the way, if the tables in the Periodicals Department are all in use, you may create a work area for yourself by simply using one of the pull-out shelves attached to the bookcases. Then just pull up a stool, and you're set.
For articles that were published more than five years ago, fill out a yellow or blue call slip for each. Be sure to neatly sign each call slip. Magazines and journals older than five years are usually kept in a special section of the stacks, below ground. To get any of these, you must give your call slips to a librarian. Please follow Central Pratt's policy of turning in no more than five of these call slips at a time.
After you give call slips to the librarian, he or she will send down to the stacks. If the magazines or journals are there, they will be sent up and left for you on a particular table or desk which has been specially designated for that purpose. This generally takes about twenty minutes, but longer if many people are requesting periodicals.
You will not be notified that the magazines or journals have come up. Therefore, you must check the list of articles which you have written on your looseleaf papers. From your list, you will know the names, volume numbers, and dates of any magazines and journals you requested. With that information, you will be able to tell which periodicals – among those placed on the cart or table – are the ones for you. Keep in mind, however – with older magazines and journals – that the library has probably had them bound together inside hardback covers. In other words, they will look like large books, not like magazines or journals. Don't let that confuse you.
For magazines and journals published during the last five years, simply look for them yourself on the shelves in the Periodicals Department. These relatively recent magazines and journals are shelved alphabetically by title – for example, Ebony in one area of the room, Foreign Affairs a little further down the shelves. The most recent ones are kept loose in labeled containers. Those that are a little older, but not yet six years old, have usually been bound into hardback covers – and can be found on the shelf next to the container of recent editions for the same magazine or journal.
If you look for a particular magazine or journal but only find an empty container, that means the magazine or journal is probably on microfilm. To see it, just go downstairs and fill in one of the cards to request the correct reel of microfilm. When you do this for the first time, a librarian will help you to thread the roll of microfilm onto a viewing machine. Watch carefully so you can do it by yourself thereafter.
If you have problems finding a recent magazine or journal – one published in the last five years – ask a librarian if Pratt does indeed get that publication and, if so, in which department it is kept.
ESSAY AND GENERAL LITERATURE INDEX (Faded red volumes)
This lists essays that are part of essay collections – printed all together in books. The Essay and General Literature Index is a series of volumes. There is no cumulative index, so you must check each year's volume separately. This research tool indexes each book of critical essays according to the year it was published, and there's no way to know when collections came out with the essays you might want.
Look, in each volume of Essay and General Literature Index, under the author's name. Articles about the author's life or overall work are listed under "About." Criticism of an individual novel or play is listed under the subheading, "About individual works." That's where you should look.
When you find mention of a book you want – a book of essays – look in the back of that volume of Essay and General Literature Index in the section called "List of books indexed." Check under the name of the author for that book (not the author of the literature you're studying). If a book you want is a collection of essays by different writers, you can tell because the original listing will say "ed. by" meaning edited by. For such books, don't look under the editor's name. Instead, check in the "List of books indexed" under that book's title (not the title of your literature).
Here's the easy part. Pratt library workers have done you a big favor. If Pratt has the books that you look up in the Essay and General Literature Index, you will see, next to each, the book's call number, written in by hand. Make a copy of that number. Also copy the book's title and author (or editor). In addition, don’t forget to write down the title of the essay that you want to read in that book.
With your list of citations in hand, go look for each book on the shelf in the appropriate department. For any books that aren't on the shelves, don't give up! Many of Pratt's books are kept in the stacks, an area of the library that is not open to the public. For each book that you can't find on the shelf, fill out a white call slip, and give it to the librarian at the desk in that department. He or she will send downstairs to see if the book is in the stacks.
The Essay and General Literature Index can be found among the reference books. Look for the volumes in this series by their call number: HUM XAI 3 E75.
GALE'S LITERARY CRITICISM SERIES (Tan volumes)
Among the research tools that you will be using, you will probably find Gale's to be the easiest to work with. This is because Gale's is not an index to essays and articles that you must find elsewhere. Gale's includes, on its own pages, reprints of the essays themselves. Central Pratt has a number of sets in the Gale's series. For recently written literature, there is Gale's Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC). It's about the work of authors now living or who have died since 1959. For earlier works, there is Gale's Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism (TCLC) which covers the work of authors who died between 1900 and 1959. And for the work of authors before that, there is Gale's Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism (NCLC). For the work of Shakespeare there is Shakespearean Criticism (SC). For African-American authors, there is Black Literature Criticism, kept in a different aisle. If you need Black Literature Criticism – and other sources of criticism about African-American literature – check everything on the shelves with call number XPS 153. There are some other Gale's series too. A librarian can tell you about them.
In the last volume of each Gale's series, you will find a cumulative index. It lists essays to be found in that volume and also in all the earlier volumes. That's where to start looking, in the index of the last volume. There are usually two separate listings, one by author and one by title. Try both. When looking for titles, be sure to look for the exact wording. Huckleberry Finn, for example, will not be found under the letter "H." You must look under "A" because the full title is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (“The” doesn’t count.)
Another way to start is by asking the librarian for the Gale's index, a paperback book. It will list all essays in all of the Gale's series.
Easiest of all – for finding articles in any of the hardback Gale’s series – is Gale’s online index. Just go to Pratt’s site (www.epfl.net). Choose databases. Choose Literary Resource Center. In the upper right, choose “Gale Literary Index.” Choose Title Search. Enter your novel’s title. Then, if more than one choice comes up, click on the novel or play (or film) you’re researching. A new screen will tell you the Gale’s series, volume (bold print) and pages for every Gale’s article. This index is a great resource! Remember, however, that you must go to the hardcopy Gale’s – not the online Literary Resource
Center – to actually get the articles.
Essays in Gale's are not complete. They have been excerpted. If any of the essays are really helpful, you should look at the bibliographic information at the end of the essay. Then, it would be wise to go find the original source in which the essay was first published. That way, you'll be able to read the whole full-length essay.
INGENTACONNECT (On the Internet)
Definitely use this. It's one of the very best resources! Be prepared, however, for a little frustration. Nevertheless, don't give up. It's a little hard to use, but IngentaConnect is a great research tool!
IngentaConnect is heavily used. At times, you won't be able to get connected to it. Mr. Bleich called them about this problem, and they said their heaviest use is in the morning. If you have trouble getting connected, try again in the afternoon.
You can access IngentaConnect through any computer at Pratt (or through any computer anywhere else – as long as it's connected to the internet).
Like the Humanities Index and Essay and General Literature Index, this is an index. In other words, IngentaConnect does not include the articles themselves (unless you want to pay about $25 for each one). This means, after using IngentaConnect to find citations, you'll have to go to the Periodicals Department to actually get the articles. That's the down side.
However, the great thing about IngentaConnect is that it indexes articles from about 30,000 different journals and magazines! Many of them are scholarly journals with exactly the sorts of analytical articles you need. For this reason, IngentaConnect may prove to be very helpful for you!
IngentaConnect is run by a business. They want your money. Again and again on the computer screen, they will ask you about sending them money. In return, they'll electronically send articles to you by computer. Forget it. All you need to do is use the free part of IngentaConnect. Then you can go and get the articles yourself in the Periodicals Department.
DETAILED DIRECTIONS FOR USING INGENTACONNECT
1) Go to: www.ingenta.com
2) Register (and write down your password, so you don’t forget it). If you’re not at home, don’t
3) At the top, place the cursor on “For Researchers.” On the scroll-down list, click on “Search and browse.”
Then, below the search area, click on "Advanced search."
4) Where it says “Search For,” enter your novel’s title. Be sure to put quotes before and after the title (so you don’t get too many hits). Don’t fill in any other blank areas.
5) Do the search a second time, but this time – at the bottom of the screen – select Fax/Ariel, and where it says “Year from,” choose 1900 (or the earliest possible year). Fax/Ariel is a much larger database than “Electronic Content.” If you don’t use Fax/Ariel, you may fail to find many good articles that do indeed exist.
6) If your search was successful, click to see a summary for each citation.
7) For each one that sounds useful, copy all the information onto paper so you can go to the Periodicals
Department and get the article. (Remember: From IngentaConnect, you cannot get the full text of the article through the computer, and you cannot order the article to be sent to you – unless you have a credit card and want to pay lots of money.)
8) Return to the “advanced search” screen.
9) Now, start all over with a different search word (or words). Repeat this process eight times – for novel's title, author's name, film's title, and director's name – in each case as an “Electronic Content” search, and then as a “Fax/Ariel” search. Always use quotes – “like this” – before and after the name or title, or you’ll get too many hits.
10) Also try other possibilities. You should try using any other search wording you can think of
to look for "Level Three" and "Level Four" film criticism. Try lots of different possible wordings for these
searches. For example, try film, or film and women, or film and Black, or film and African
American, or film and symbolism, or movie and symbolism, or cinema and symbolism, or
film and novel, or literature and movie, or anything else you can think of.
11) Each time, be sure to try the “Fax/Ariel” search too, and be sure to select 1900 as the start year.
12) Don’t use the “Author Name” field. That will only give you articles by your author, but you want articles
about your author’s novel.
OTHER PRINT RESOURCES
1) Magill's Bibliography of Literary Criticism (Four volumes, XPN523.A1M25)
2) Pratt's book catalogue (PRATTCAT)
There may be whole books full of critical essays about your novel. When using Pratt's book
catalogue on a computer, enter your author's name – Last, First – and then also type in
Criticism and Interpretation before beginning the search.
3) MLA Annual Bibliography (XPB41.A1M69)
This is also available online, where it’s called MLA International Bibliography.
To use it online, go to Pratt’s web site. Look under Databases & enter your library card number. Then
look under Arts & Humanities, and choose Literature Resource Center. Click on MLA International
Bibliography. It’s a great index, but keep in mind that the online version only goes back to about 1963.
4) Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals
Covers the years 1802 to 1974. (Faded lime green volumes) (XZ 1035 .A13 C62Q)
5) Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals
Covers the years 1886 to 1974. (Red-brown volumes) (XZ 1035 .A13 C64Q)
6) Enser’s Filmed Books & Plays 1928-2001 (Dull orange, blue & beige) (XPN 1997 .85 .B385 2003)
This book by Ellen Baskin is a list of about 8000 novels and plays that have been made into movies.
You can look up a film title (1st half of book) or look up an author (2nd half of book) to find out if the story
is both a novel and a film.
7) Book Review Digest (In Periodicals area, 1st Floor)
If you can’t find critiques of your book anywhere else, this should work. However, it will mainly lead you
to short reviews that may only have plot summaries. For each review listed, check the number with a
“w” after it. For example, 600w means that the article has 600 words. If you choose the longest articles
(and then get them in the Periodicals Department), you’re a little more likely to find thematic analysis.
8) Book Review Index (In Periodicals area, 1st level, near Book Review Digest)
These volumes are bright yellow & blue. Look in the beginning of a volume for the key to abbreviations.
9) If you haven't found enough material, ask a librarian about additional resources, not mentioned here.
OTHER INTERNET SOURCES
1) Pratt Library Databases:
Go to Pratt's home page – www.epfl.net – on any computer at Pratt, or on a computer anywhere
else (as long as it's connected to the internet). Under the "Research" heading, choose "Databases."
If you’re not at Pratt, enter your library card number. (For this to work, you may have to turn off the virus
protection on your computer.)
Choose “Literature Resource Center.” Enter author’s name and click on search (or you can
choose “Title Search”).
Click on “Literary Criticism.”
Also try “Additional Resources.”
Click on the article titles that sound as if they may be helpful.
Read each article. For each one you want, click on “Print” or “E-Mail.”
Now, for additional articles, click on the divider tab for “MLA International Bibliography.” This will give you a list. These articles, however, are not full-text. For each one that sounds helpful –
judging by its title – write down the information. If it’s a journal article, go get it in Pratt’s
Periodicals Department. If it’s an article in a book, look for it in Pratt’s online “Library
Catalogue.” Then look for it on the shelf, by call number.
There’s one more potentially helpful source. Go back to the list of databases on Pratt’s web site.
Enter your library card # and – under “Reference” – choose “Student Resource Center.” Then
choose “Literature Search.” Try both the author search and the title search. Check every
article, and check every active tab.
2) General Proquest:
On the Pratt site, under Databases and then under General Research, choose General Proquest. Click
on the Advanced tab. Key in your novel’s title (in quotation marks). On the next line, next to “AND,”
key in the word “theme” and then, on the right side – for both rows you’ve used – select “Citation and
Document Text.” Click on search. Then try this again, keying in your author instead of the title.
3) Internet Public Library: www.ipl.org/div/litcrit/
4) Infopeople: Best Search Tools www.infopeople.org/search/tools.html
(This leads you to six different search engines. Try your author & title in each, “using quotes like this.”)
5) Library Spot: Literary Criticism: www.libraryspot.com/litcrit.htm
6) Perspectives in American Literature: www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/table.html
7) Com Library: www.com.edu/library/internet/intsub/eng lc.htm
III. FINDING FILM CRITICISM
Try all of the following resources. In each, look up the film director's last name. Also try looking up the title of the film itself. Unless otherwise noted, all these sources are in the Humanities Department.
NEW YORK TIMES FILM REVIEWS (XPN 1995 N4Q)
This is probably the simplest one-stop source to start with. It is a set of about seventeen volumes (seventeen books) covering films produced from 1913 until about three years ago. In these volumes, full text film reviews are reprinted, just as they originally appeared in the New York Times. Ask a Humanities librarian where to find these books. Look in the correct volume, according to the year in which your chosen film was produced. For any New York Times reviews of your film during the last two years, the New York Times Film Reviews books will not yet be available. However, you're in luck. Pratt librarians cut new reviews from the newspaper itself, and paste them on large manilla cards. If you know that there's been a recent New York Times review of your film, ask a Humanities librarian to see the hand-pasted copy. (To find out if there's been a recent New York Times review, see the Film Index card catalogue, explained later in these directions.)
FILM REVIEW INDEX (White) (XPN 1995 .F52 1987Q)
There are two volumes in this series. Ask a Humanities librarian where they are kept. This is perhaps the best film criticism resource of all. It is a bibliography. In other words, it will tell you where to find a number of critical articles and/or reviews about your chosen film. It indexes magazines, journals, Variety (an entertainment industry newspaper), and essays that were published in books. The first volume of Film Review Index covers films made from 1882 through 1949. The second volume indexes films made from 1950 through 1985.
Look in the volume for the year that your chosen film was produced and in the next year's volume too. Check under the heading
, "Motion Picture Reviews – Single Works." Then look under the title of the film. Readers’ Guide
is also available in the Periodicals Department, 1st
FILM STUDY: AN ANALYTICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY BY MANCHEL
(XPN 1994.M345 1990)
This is a four volume set of books by Frank Manchel. It includes a very large amount of bibliographic information about criticism of films and where to find all the original articles – especially in books, in specialized film magazines, and in scholarly film journals. Don't overlook this one. Look up your film in the index of this helpful resource. Also check out the topics in the extensive table of contents in the front of each volume. Then, in the appropriate chapters, look carefully in the regular text and also in the extensive footnotes (in smaller print at the bottoms of Manchel's pages). This may lead you to quite a few in-depth analyses of your chosen film. If not, there will certainly be discussion – directly in these Manchel volumes and in many other sources mentioned by Manchel – about film artistry in general. Remember, this is what Mr. Bleich calls "Level Three" and "Level Four" film criticism. Articles and essays of that type, though not directly about your film, may offer you very useful insights, perhaps even quotes for use as supportive evidence in your paper.
OTHER BOOKS ABOUT FILM – IN ADDITION TO MANCHEL
Take a look at all the other reference books about film that are kept in the Humanities Department. They may be especially helpful if you're taking the "auteur" ("Level Two") approach to film criticism, or even more so if you're going to be using critical theories in general: "Level Three" about the relation of filmic artistry to literary artistry. All the reference books about film are on the shelves near the librarians' desk, going from call numbers XPN1992.95 to XPN1998. In addition, take a careful glance at all the circulating books about film. They're in a separate section of shelves – up the stairs in the back, and then to your left. They go from call number PN1992.95 to PN1999.
VARIETY FILM REVIEWS
(Green) (XPN 1995 .V34Q)
These are available, in book form, from 1959 to nearly the present. On microfilm
, Pratt has an even more extensive set – all the way from 1905 up through recent years. Loose, unbound copies of the actual newspapers are also available for the very most recent reviews of newer films.
This is a set of wooden drawers in the Humanities Department. On separate cards, it indexes film reviews from the New York Times
and from Variety
. It's especially helpful for reviews published in recent years. If the newest hardback volumes of Variety Film Reviews
or New York Times Film Reviews
aren't yet available, then this card catalogue is a good place to look for information about recent reviews.
INTERNATIONAL INDEX TO FILM PERIODICALS
(Dark Green) (XPN 1994 .A1 I5Q) (Up to 1999)
This may be a very helpful resource, but there is no cumulative index for these volumes. Therefore, since you never know when reviews about your film may have been written, you must check again and again – in each and every volume, separately for each year. In each volume, look in three different places. Look in the "Individual Films" section, the "Biography" section (under director's name), and in the "Director Index" (again, under director's name).
NEWSBANK REVIEW OF THE ARTS
(Red Books – In the “6th
Stack,” Behind Librarian's Desk in
Humanities) (Up to 1997)
This is a unique and helpful resource. These books lead you to full-text critical essays that are stored on plastic microfiche sheets, also available right behind the librarians' desk. The red books don't have a cumulative index, so you have to check separately in each year's volume. To read the microfiche sheets, you must place them in a microfiche reader machine. There's one in the Humanities Department. However, if you wish to make a copy, you must take the microfiche sheet(s) to the Microform Center, down the stairs from the Periodicals Department.
By the way, this resource may also be used to find literary criticism. To do so, use the yellow books instead of the red ones.
FILM LITERATURE INDEX
These books in the Humanities Department index film reviews and critical articles that were published in many different film magazines and journals. However, the index isn't cumulative, so you have to look in each volume separately – again and again. In the volume for each year, check under your film's title and also under the director's name.
Check under the heading, "Moving Pictures." Other than that, follow the same directions as those you followed earlier, when you used this index to search for literary criticism.
PRATT'S INTERNET SITE
Go to Pratt's home page – www.epfl.net
– on any computer at Pratt, or on a computer anywhere else (as long as it's connected to the internet). First, under “Research,” try the library catalogue. There's a chance that you'll find whole books on your director (and perhaps on your author).
Then go back to Pratt's home page. Under the "Research" heading, choose "Databases." If you’re not at Pratt, enter your library card number.
For magazine and newspaper articles, there are two indexes that may be particularly useful, as long as you're not looking for articles published longer ago than the 1980s. Try both. They’re both under “General Research.” One is General ProQuest
and the other is Info Trac
is an especially convenient way to locate lots of information because most of the articles are full-text. In other words, it's not an index that leads you elsewhere to find the articles. The articles are right there, and can be easily printed or can be e-mailed (free) to yourself. If you get too many “hits,” go back to “Basic Search.” After entering the name of your film or novel, click on “More Search Options.” Under “Document Type,” scroll down to “Review” and choose either “Book Review” or “Movie Review,” whichever you’re searching for.
OTHER INTERNET SOURCES
Do a thorough search of all the internet sites listed below. First, search according to your film's title. Then do another search using your director's name. The director's name will lead you to all the films by that one director. In addition to any critical articles about your film, also look up – and read – all the reviews about all the other films by your director. This will allow you to pursue film criticism at "Level Two" – the "auteur" approach.
The film reviews in this magazine are generally very good (long and analytical).
Unfortunately, their site does not have a search feature. To look for your film, you must
click on “Previous” again and again. For each issue of the magazine, look under “Film
Reviews” to see if they have an article on your film.
2) MOVIE REVIEW QUERY ENGINE
3) INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE
Under “Search the IMDb,” enter movie title and click “Go.” If there’s more than one
version of your film, click on the title and year of the version you want. The next step is
important. Look under “Awards & Reviews” and click on “External Reviews.”
4) VOICE OF THE SHUTTLE MEDIA STUDIES PAGE
5) MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES SITE
6) FILM CRITICISM AND AMERICAN LITERATURE: SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
7) CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: ROGER EBERT'S MOVIE REVIEWS
8) THE GREATEST FILMS
If you find helpful articles at these sites, you'll have to figure out how to print them or e-mail them to yourself.
IV. GENERAL CONCLUDING DIRECTIONS
Read the articles and essays that you've found. If you have been able to find more than the required number, great! In that case, be sure to choose – from among them – those which directly discuss aspects of the author's theme or the literary/filmic element that you intend to analyze in your research paper. Also, for each article, be sure you understand, if not the whole thing, at least enough of it so that you can quote it and explain it intelligently when you write your research paper. For articles that don't relate to your topic – or which are too difficult – don’t use them. Find others!
Once you have thirteen helpful ones – including your original two, if they're good – then you must write a bibliography card for each. (You will also need to write a bibliography card, of course, for your novel and another card for your film.)
If you have enough money, it is wise to xerox the thirteen best articles that you have found. This will allow you to read everything at home, and to take notes at your leisure.
On the other hand, you may wish to find a quiet spot at Central Pratt and do some – or all – of your reading and note-taking while there. This will surely require more time than you will have during our single day's visit, but that's fine. You can go back on your own.
Even if you xerox everything, there's a high likelihood that you'll need to go back to Central Pratt on at least one more day. That's because – once you get home and read everything carefully, and once you reread important sections of the literary work itself, and once you study the film again, and once you begin rethinking your assertion and revising your lines of reasoning – the chances are that you'll discover a need for more materials to support a well-developed proof of your thesis.
No matter how you slice it, you should plan on having to go back at least once more to Central Pratt, if you wish to write a research paper that measures up to your potential!
Your teacher is confident that you can write a good paper. It's a matter of putting in the time and the thought. Will it be frustrating at first? Yes! Will it be hard? For sure! Will you learn a great deal from the experience? Unquestionably! Will you enthusiastically do your very best work? As your teacher, that is my hope!
Throughout this research project – during all your time at the library – please do everything as quietly as possible so others may concentrate.
If you finish early, please help another student, but don't do any of the work for that student. Just talk with her or him
, find out what the difficulty is, and offer advice. Remember, if you give someone a fish, he or she can eat for a day. If you teach a person to fish, he or she can eat for a lifetime!
Be sure you've thanked all the librarians who've helped you.
If you take out any books, don't forget to return them on time. They can be returned to any Pratt library or to any Baltimore County library.