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Moving Image and Sound: Collections and Archives

This guide will help to improve your searching skills and enable you to find relevant material to support your research.


mySearch is an interface which allows you to search across a range of library resources simultaneously, including books, e-books, journal articles and databases

Using collections and archives

In using collections and archives the following general advice is useful:

Costs: There may be a cost attached to viewing or copying material. It is a good idea to check how much this will be before committing yourself to using a film or recording and build that into your research budget.

Training: While larger organisations have well developed systems and technology to enable viewing, smaller archives and collections may not. You might, for example, be expected to use or be familiar with old formats e.g. 16mm film. Training in using older formats may be necessary.

Copyright: In general using moving image and sound for private research and study will not raise issues of copyright. However, where material is to be viewed by others, for example if material is to be shown to participants in a survey or experiment to gauge responses, permission will have to be sought. For further information email

‘Free’ material available via the web

The internet provides access to an eclectic mix of moving image and sound. Search engines such as Google and sites like YouTube offer search options by format and file type. The Moving Image Gateway (MIG) created by the BUFVC provides a quality checked catalogue of moving images.

Commercially available material

Access to film material is provided in two ways. The Library will buy commercially produced films that are requested by staff and students, and are judged to have a direct relevance to teaching and research. These are listed on the mySearch.

There is no system similar to our Inter-Library Loans service for moving image and sound, purchasing is the only practicable route to obtaining ‘current’ material. A second route to obtaining feature films and other commercial material is to record them off-air (see the following pages).