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The University of Massachusetts Amherst


A subject guide for conducting research in the field of Communication.

New Film & Media Books

DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, and Films in the Libraries

You may search for films in a number of formats owned by the UMass Amherst Library or Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges, in Discovery. You can search by title, subject, or author (the director is listed as the author). After you conduct a search limit the Format to "Videos." These facets are located in the left hand "Refine Results" column. Students may borrow the library's films for three days or view them in the Media area on the 6th floor whenever the Library is open. If your instructor has placed their copy of a film on Reserve, ask for it at the circulation desk in the Learning Commons. 

UMass Amherst students can also borrow films in person from the Four Colleges for three days. Staff and faculty can borrow films for five days.

Streaming Video & Films


Kanopy logo

Known as "Netflix for Academia", Kanopy offers free streaming documentaries, foreign films, Criterion Collection films, and more. It also hosts the entire Media Education Foundation video library of cultural criticism documentaries as well as the DEFA Film Library (selected films from the comprehensive UMass Amherst collection of East German cinema). It's free for all UMass students, and staff and you can set up an account to create a queue.

SWANK Digital Campus


A collection of 50 heavily used, mostly Hollywood, films. These will primarily be films used in UMass classes and will rotate based on usage. Only works with the Chrome or Firefox browsers.

Link to Docuseek documentary library.
Docuseek2 streams essential social-issue and environmental documentaries to colleges and universities, providing exclusive access to content from Bullfrog Films, Icarus Films (including The Fanlight Collection and dGenerate Films), Kartemquin Films, the National Film Board of Canada, MediaStorm, KimStim, Scorpion TV, and Terra Nova Films. 


This custom subscription of almost 800 titles provides an exceptional range of content with the most valuable video documentaries and series from PBS. From science to history, art to Shakespeare, diversity to business & economics, and more, The PBS Video Collection: Third Edition gives your patrons access to one of television’s most trusted networks.

Film Platform

Film Platform logo

Film Platform is an innovative collaboration between some of the leading filmmakers and sales agents around the world to bring the finest streaming collection of documentary films to an academic audience

Film & Video Reference Collection

The Reference Collection in the Learning Commons (aka Lower Level) of Du Bois Library includes many guides to film genres and national cinema in the Reference collection around call numbers PN 1992-1998. Some examples are listed below

Films by Genre  (Ref. PN 1998 L63 1993)
Starting point for research into film genres.
Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema (Ref. PN 1993.4 I8 R277 1999) 
A good example of guides to national cinema.


Reference Sources for Film Criticism

Film criticism is usually published as articles in film journals. Thoughtful reviews in popular magazines also provide critical insights.

Film Literature Index (Ref. Z5784.M9F45) 
Covers international scholarly and trade film journals from 1973 to present.

Film Review Index  (Ref. Z5784.M9 F513 1986+) 
Provides citations to reviews in popular magazines 1882-1985.

Reference Books for the Industry
Also in Reference are various media industry directories. 

Gale Directory of Media and Markets Ref Desk Z 6951 N11 )
Find print and broadcast media in each town. Also online.
Kemp's Film TV and Video Yearbook Ref PN1998 A1 K391) 
International directory of production facilities.

Non UMass Audio Visual Resources

American Archive of Public Broadcasting
A collection of archival materials from the history of public television in the U.S. Includes archival audio and video material from PBS, NPR and their predecessors. 

Library of Congress Audio-Visual Collections
Hundreds of moving image and audio collections. Many are available online.