Skip to Main Content

Media Studies

Media Studies refers to the broad range of interdisciplinary subjects focusing on media culture and production.

Getting Started

If you are working on media or cinema studies research and not sure where to begin, the reference sources listed here can help. Reference sources include encyclopedias, bibliographies, filmographies, and more, each of which may be more or less well-suited to your research needs. For example, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and companions are useful for familiarizing yourself with key concepts or figures, while bibliographies are most useful when looking for resources related to a topic.

Most of the sources listed here are available online or located in the Wells Library Reference Reading Room on the first floor of the East Tower. Materials in the Reference Reading Room cannot be checked out of the library so plan to consult, scan, or copy them in the library.

If you have questions at any point in your research process, ask a librarian for help


In the Wells Library, you can find Toshiba printers in the Scholars' Commons and the Learning Commons on the first floor, as well as on the second, fourth, and fifth floors of the West Tower. For printing assistance and plotter printers, patrons should go to the fourth floor of the West Tower. Patrons with an IU login can use the My Print Center website to upload documents for printing. Please see the Printers and Technology page for more information.

Scanning and Photocopying

You can make photocopies on the first and ninth floors of the East Tower, or scan documents to save in digital format in several locations in the East and West Towers. Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (East Tower, 2nd floor) has microform machines that can scan images from microfilm, microfiche, and microopaques. 

The Scholars' Commons Digitization Lab is a high-end multimedia, multidisciplinary self-service lab dedicated to the digital conversion of materials, and the management and migration of born-digital objects in support of research needs and interests of Indiana University Bloomington's faculty and students. The Lab provides both large format high-speed flatbed and sheet-fed scanners for text documents and large-format flatbeds with transparency capability for photographs, slides, and negatives. It also includes ABBYY Fine Reader (a high-end OCR software). See more on the library website.

Reference Sources for Media Studies

Reference guides organize different types of reference sources, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes and more, into lists designed for consultation. If you are looking for a bird’s eye view of reference sources on a topic, a reference guide can be a useful tool.

Film and Television: A Guide to the Reference Literature - If you are not sure where to begin, this guide is a great resource. This comprehensive bibliography includes bibliographies, filmographies, indexes, dictionaries, and encyclopedias among other reference resources. The topical organization makes this guide simple to navigate and annotations allow you to quickly evaluate listed resources.

Call number: Z5784.M9 E47 2006 (Wells Library – Reference Reading Room)

Encyclopedias contain detailed information on topics that are usually listed aphetically. Consulting an encyclopedia is an effective way to familiarize yourself with key topics at the start of the research process or to clarify an unfamiliar topic you encounter.

According to Bloomsbury Publishing, "companions are of interest to researchers, instructors and students. The Handbooks are a series of single-volume reference works which aim to map the parameters of a discipline or sub-discipline and present the 'state of the art' in terms of research."

Handbooks are concise reference works which provide practical information on a particular subject. While encyclopedias cover a wide range of topics, handbooks offer more focused analysis of a particular topic. Explore the following links for additional handbooks:

Routledge Handbooks, Available as E-books

All handbooks listed below link to an e-book, available with IU Bloomington affiliation. Compared to companions and encyclopedias, handbooks tend to focus on a more specialized niche or sub-discipline. These handbooks focus on a specific topic featuring contributions from experts in that field. Explore below:

Enumerative bibliographies (also called compilative, reference or systematic) are lists of media (including books, film, etc.) which result in an overview of publications in a particular category. Enumerative bibliographies are based on a unifying principle such as creator, subject, date, or topic. Belanger (1977) distinguishes an enumerative bibliography from other bibliographic forms such as descriptive bibliography, analytical bibliography or textual bibliography in that its function is to record and list, rather than describe a source in detail or with any reference to the source's physical nature, materiality or textual transmission. The bibliographies below can help offer an overview of the scholarship in a field and assist you in identifying relevant sources.

Source: Bibliography (Wikipedia)

A filmography is a list of films by one director, featuring a specific actor, or focusing on one subject. It is essentially like a bibliography for films. See this list of filmographies from Yale University for more.