Re: Documentary Data Base

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Tue, 25 Aug 1998 17:12:58 -0700

To put it as gently as possible........no.

There a handful of regularly-published , commercially available
videographies (Video Source Book, NICEM catalogs, etc.)--all of which are
a) incomplete b)unreliable and which c)have miserable subject indexing.
I've never found these useful for tracking down materials on a particular
subject.

Perhaps the best source for subject searching (although farrrrrr from
perfect) is OCLC (FirstSearch)--the mother of all national bibliographic
databases. You generally need to have a friend in the library business to
gain access to this db (visit your local public or academic library). The
majority of libraries which do cataloging of their materials online use
this shared database...millions and millions of records for all types of
media. One fairly serious problem is the fact that these cataloging
records more often than not list production company (not distributor)--so
if you find something that looks hot, it's still an uphill battle trying
find out how to score it.

Good luck!

Gary Handman
UCB
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu

>One of our producers has asked me if anyone knows of a website where one
>can research, by subject, documentaries that have already been made.
>
>My apologies if this is the 9,000th time this question has been asked in
>one way or another.
>
>Thanks for any help you can give us.
>
>John Hoskyns-Abrahall
>--
>
>Bullfrog Films
>PO Box 149
>Oley, PA 19547
>800/543-FROG (3764)
>
>tel: 610/779-8226
>fax: 610/370-1978
>web: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com
>email: bullfrog@igc.org