Film archives and footage sources

Moving Image Sources (and some sound) on the Internet.

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All of these websites, and over 700 more, can be found on the BUFVC's Moving Image Gateway. The MIG collects together websites that relate to moving images and sound and their use in higher and further education. The sites are classified by academic discipline, collected within the four main categories of Arts & Humanities, Biomedical, Social Sciences and Science & Technology. Each site has been evaluated and described by the BUFVC's Information Service.



An advertising industry portal, boasting links to over 16,000 agencies, and with an impressively orderly and informative database of over 13,000 adverts (magazine, radio, internet, television etc.), searchable by type, agency, production company, brand, country, business sector and credits (including performers).

All Movie Guide

Comprehensive movie database, offering searches by title, person and keyword, with detailed film descriptions, actor biographies, essays on film genres and areas of film history, and a useful glossary of terms.

All Music Guide

Companion site to the above, covering all types of music recordings, with impressive artis biographies and an extensive system oflinks to details of their recordings, fellow artists, related music recordings etc.

American Memory (Library of Congress)

The incomparable "American Memory" section of the vast Library of Congress site includes a "Performing Arts" section, with playscripts, theatre bills, sound recordings and motion pictures, notably the American Variety Stage 1870-1920 section which includes a wide selection of early film productions, usefully categorised by theme, and with excellent supporting catalogue information.


ARKive is a centralised digital library of films, photographs and sound recordings on species, created by the Wildscreen Trust and launched in May 2003. ARKive describes itself as a "virtual conservation effort - finding, sorting, cataloguing and copying the key records of species, and building them into a comprehensive and enduring audio-visual record." Its ultimate aim is to provide an audiovisual record of 11,000 endangered species. Currently there are 500 globally endangered species, and a British "chapter" is in development covering 750 examples of rare and common British flora and fauna. There is a mixture of still and moving image records, and sound recordings - the moving images are available in downloadable QuickTime, and in streaming format for Real (modem and broadband) and Windows Media Player (modem and broadband).

Art on Screen Database

Database produced by The Program for Art on Film, offering art and architecture subjects on film from a variety of sources, designed for students, curators and film researchers. Searching by keyword; elegant and comprehensive catalogue entries.



A vast site that covers BBC1 and BBC2 and BBC Radio 1,2,3,4 and 5. Sometimes impenetrable and difficult to negotiate due to its enormity, the BBC website is an exceptional resource for those with a lot of time to browse. The whole site is searchable and it has links to other sites of interest and includes full BBC television and radio listings (including regional variations) and has links to other sites for comprehensive UK television and radio listings.

Black Star

Comprehensive and reliable online sales for British releases of videos and DVDs.

British Board of Film Classification

The British Board of Film Classification website is fully searchable by film title, director, cast, distributor, date or keyword, and can also be limited by medium. The information given is not particularly full, but it provides details on content that may have affected the certification and mentions the length of footage that has been cut from any film. Unfortunately, information is not given on why footage has been censored.

British Library Sound Archive

The catalogue to the British Library Sound Archive's (formerly the National Sound Archive's) collection of over two and a half million recordings stretching back to the late 19th century is now available online, entitled Cadensa. The catalogue entries are precise, but it is not possible (as yet) to listen to the recordings themselves.

British Movietone News

British newsreel library covering 1929-1979, online database searchable by keyword (the database also includes the TV-AM library) with detailed shotlists available.

The British Museum - Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas - formerly the Department of Ethnography

)The British Museum's Department of Ethnography holds the small collection of films and videos relating to ethnographic studies formerly housed by the Museum of Mankind.

British Pathe

British Pathe, with Lottery funding from the New Opportunities Fund, has put up the whole of its newsreel film library (3,500 hours) online with downloadable copies available for free at low resolution. Higher resolution copies for broadcast or lecture presentations are available for a fee. Searches can be limited by date, range of years, keyword and type of film. It is an incredible resource, for students, lecturers and film researchers alike. In April 2003 management of British Pathe was taken over by the ITN Archive. The URL is still active, but access is also avalable via ITN (see below).

British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC)

The BUFVC's site includes access to HERMES, Television Index, the Researcher's Guide Online (RGO), the Moving Image Gateway (MIG) and British Universities Newsreel Database (see below), MAAS Media Online, the Managing Agent and Advisory Service for the online delivery of moving images and sound to UK higher and further education, and the Television & Radio Index for Learning and Teaching (TRILT). It also contains details of BUFVC courses and publications.

British Universities Newsreel Database (BUND)

Database of 160,000 British newsreel records, freely available on logging in using any valid E-mail address. It features the records of all the major British newsreels, with full release data and basic synopses, searchable by title, newsreel, date, library number, issue number, subject, keyword and cameraman, with simple and advanced search options offered. 80,000 digitised newsreel production documents are being added to the BUND. It also contains a wide range of research resources accessible to all, such as articles, abstracts, a biographical database, video sources etc. Since October 2002 it has also linked to the British Pathe website, so that researcher can link direct to a downloadable copy of the newsreel.

Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB)

The BARB website includes its new releases, statistical television related facts, methodological information about the Board's work, summaries of information gathered about audiences' viewing habits on a weekly or monthly basis, with results going back over two years.


Extensive television production site, aiming to establish itself as a portal for all those working in the industry, with assorted links and contacts. Full use of the site is only possible by registering online.

BUBL Information Service

An information centre for UK higher education, including an extensive listing of online resources divided up by subject area.



Online video store, specialising in rare and deleted titles.


Backed by the likes of Microsoft and Blockbuster, this US site is one of many that offer full-ength feature films that can be downloaded for a fee. The connection must be 56K or higher and the movies are viewed using Media Player. A number of films are offered for free. The titles are divided by genre (Action, Comedy, Documentary, Foreign, Horror etc) and all the free items are clearly marked.

Corbis Motion

Leading stock footage source from Corbis, best known for its still image service; it incorporates the former Film Bank library.



DigiGuide can be downloaded from the internet for a small fee and provides a personalised television listings guide. Once installed on a desktop, DigiGuide can be viewed offline, although it must be regularly updated online. It can be customised to the user's particular tastes and has the facility to remind the user when favourite programmes are on.

Directory of International Film and Video Festivals

A listing of 500 international film, television and video festivals.

Drew's Script-o-Rama

Popular and extensive resource for film and television scripts.


East Anglian Film Archive

Online database, still being updated, with very basic information available for this regional archive covering East Anglia. Seraching by title, keyword or filmmaker.

A fully searchable site with lists of episode titles, cast lists and original air dates for many different American television shows. Some of the records have episode synopses.



The International Federation of Film Archives, with addresses and contact details for all member archives.


The International Federation of Television Archives.

Film Archive Forum

The Film Archive Forum is the representative body of the UK's public sector films archives (the NFTVA, the IWM and the various regional film archives across the country). This site is part of the BUFVC website and includes links to all members' archives.

Focal International

International professional trade association representing commercial film and audio-visual libraries and professional film researchers. The website offers an excellent series of links to film libraries worldwide and a footage search service.

Massive collection of individudal stockshot libraries, including Archive Films, Image Bank, Historic Films, CNN Image Source and many others, with global searches over all these databases possible. The first online port of call for most film researchers.

Fremantle Media (Formerly Pearson Television Archive)

Television stock shot service of popular drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programmes. Production and broadcasting information, programme synopsis, web links and more.


Getty Images

Getty's huge stock film footage and photo site includes what was formerly Archive Films and the Image Bank. Within the Archive Films collection is the American March of Time news cinemagazine, the Encyclopedia Britannica Film Collection, and the Prelinger collection of films of American life. Searchable by keyword, with some preview clips available.


Huntley Film Archives

Renowned independent commercial film library, with a particular emphasis on nostalgia, transport, variety and so forth. A searchable database has recently been added.


Imperial War Museum Film & Video Archive

General information on the archive - link to database also now available.

Index stock shots 

Standard stock shot service with searchable database.

The Internet Movie Database

Huge database of filmographic information, also has links to video availability (in the USA), trailers and external reviews.

Intute Arts and Humanities

Over 21,000 freely available Arts and Humanities Web resources.

The I Page

Elegantly designed gateway from the London Institute for resoruces primarily concerned with art, design and performance.

ITN Source

Database of ITN, searchable by keyword and date, with detailed shotlists and notes about footage sources, predominantly for 1990s TV news. The ITN Archive holds a large 1920s-50s newsreel library (Gaumont-British News, Gaumont Graphic, British Paramount News, Universal News and others) but this material is not accessible online except for a few isolated items. Also details of tape compilations and video clips. In April 2003 ITN took over the management of the British Pathe newsreel library. Access to the downloadable British Pathe films is now possible through ITN's site.



Kaleidoscope is a non-profit making organisation, which is devoted to the appreciation of classic British television. Promotional events are arranged throughout the coutnry, but their website is an easy way to access much of the information. The site includes small numbers of television reviews, articles, episode guides, production material and links.

The Knowledge Online

Comprehensive film and television industry guide.


Library of Congress Online Catalog

The Motion Picture dividsion of the library of Congress has its catalogue available online as part of the general LoC catalogue, searchable by title, name, subject or special keyword.


Trail-blazing streaming media site for the life sciences, from the University of Portsmouth.


Complete streamed movies (public domain titles in the USA), television programmes and music promos.

The Living Room Candidate

An online exhibition containing 183 television commercials, from every American presidential election from 1952 to 1996. The ads can be accessed chronologically or by theme. For each election year there is a selection of commercials, an analysis of each major party's advertising campaign, and a map showing the election results.


Media Resources Center

The Media Resources Center of the University of California, Berkeley, offers an exceptional resource guide, with records of the MRC's holdings, an extensive, classified guide to film, video and broadcast reference sources on the internet (including resources specifically for media librarians and teachers), bibliographies, articles and film and video distributors.

The Mercury Theatre on the Air

A largely complete collection of the surviving shows from the 1938 American radio drama show, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, produced by Orson Welles and John Houseman.


Very good UK mail order video and DVD source with emphasis on world cinema and cult/classic titles.


Extensive American (NTSC format only) video source.

Moving Image Communications

The collections consist of approximately 17,000 hours both archival and con temporary including the TV-am archives, the BTA, National Trust, Wild Islands and Filmfinders. The library also features many documents about Britain from the 1930s to the present day, and covering every aspect of the country. Material originated on film and video provides a comprehensive footage resource with images ranging from silent movies to celebrity chat shows and from amateur films to travelogues. All data can be searched on-line.


National Archives and Records Administration (ARC catalogue)

Catalogue to the vast resources of the American national archives, including numerous official film records.

National Resource Centre for Dance

Collection based at the University of Surrey that supports dance research and education and includes a video reference collection.

National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales

The site contains basic information on the archive and its activities, but no online database.


The budget classical music label makes available online all of those recordings on its catalogue for which no composer copyright now exists, broken up into tracks as on the CD releases. The site also includes a listing of classical music themes used in feature films.


Collection of 10,000 newsfilm clips, from 1896 to the present day (taken from the ITN Archive and French Pathé libraries), accessible for £25 annual fee. The site now offers television interviews by Sir David Frost, for a further subscription fee. Newsplayer is now the owner of

Nielsen Media Research

Nielsen, a company who supply Canada and the US with television ratings information have a website which outlines the way in which representative population samples are taken, and how participants' viewing patterns are monitored. There is a separate section devoted to ethnic viewing trends, which includes graphs and specific information on how they ensure fair testing is carried out.

North West Film Archive

Online database, covering the North West region of England, searchable by keyword only, with good descriptions and basic technical data available.


Olympic Television Archive Bureau (OTAB)

The official agents for Olympic games footage. Access to the database requires registration.

Open Video Project

The Open Video Project is being developed by the Interaction Design Laboratory at the University of North Carolina. It is building up a library of downloadable video segments in MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and so far includes materials predominantly from the Carnegie Mellon University Informedia Project on geology, geography and oceanography; the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab; and particularly the Prelinger Archives on everyday life in America.

OSF Film Library

Extensive collection of wildlife stock footage and stock photography. Formerly known as Oxford Scientific Films.


Proceedings from the British parliament have been streamed live since February 2002. The pilot service is available using Windows Media Player or RealPlayer, and offers live webcasts of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, Westminster Hall, and Select Committees. A schedule shows what sessions are coming up over the week, and which of these will be audio or video streamed.

Pathé Archives 

The giant French Pathé archive, with news material going back to 1896.

Public Moving Image Archives and Research Centres

Helpful list of film archives and motion picture centres worldwide, with weblinks.


Research Channel

Streamed scientific lectures from the USA and arts, engineering, law, medicine, social sciences and other topics.

Roland Collection 

A database of over 600 films on art and the history of art available for sale, including seven and a half hours of online preview clips as well as over 300 hours of complete full length documentary films, from a major collection of art films and videos.


The Scottish Parliament Live

Proceedings of the Scottish parliament are being streamed, both committee and main chamber business, using Windows Media Player. The site makes available an archive of the proceedings for the previous month.

Scottish Screen Archive

A catalogue of a varied archive that includes "home movies, advertisements, educational and documentary film, as well as films detailing technical processes and showing the imagination and innovation of Scottish film-makers over the years."

ScreenSound Australia

One of the few national film archives to have made its catalogue available online, with very impressive cataloguing detail, and able to narrow searches down to viewable material only.


Shotlist, part of the EBS Trust, produces subject-specific video materials for teaching and research, which are distributed at minimal cost to all UK education establishments, who are also able to purchase sub-masters from which they are permitted to copy, re-edit, and re-format the programmes according to their own needs.

An extensive music recordings guide, notable in its field for offering a substantial number of sound clips.


Television News Archive Vanderbilt University

Outstanding database of American broadcast news, from 1968 to the present day. Data only, not film clips.


A delightful site dedicated to early recorded sounds, from wax cylinders to antique phonographs. It offers a rich collection of recordings from original wax cylinders, with a new recording added every month.

TV Cream

This site is a directory of old television shows from the UK, US, Europe, Australia and others, constructed from memories and archive material. It is searchable alphabetically and includes links to other nostalgic television websites.


UCLA Film and Television Archive

An example of an American film archive promoting a newsreel that it uniquely holds (Hearst Metrotone News). The holdings are traceable through the MELVYL Catalog, though as with the Library of Congress the films holdings are combined with books and other material, making subject searching awkward (using the Power Search option combining Newsreels with the subject required is the best option). Shotlists available.

UK Television Adverts

Includes information on over 2000 advertisements from ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UK based satellite channels from 1996 onwards, some of which are downloaded. These are searchable by product or by the artist(s) who appeared in the advert. The site is searchable, and has links to other relevant sites.


The Wellcome Trust Medical Film and Video Library

Major source for medical film, including physiology and pharmacology, the neurosciences, cell biology, parasitology and tropical medicine, clinical medicine, surgery and the history of medicine.

Wessex Film and Sound Archive

At Wessex Film and Sound Archive you can see and hear history, from late Victorian times to the present day, through moving images and sound recordings. The Archive contains over 36,000 film and sound recordings relating to central southern England, including film and tapes of local TV and radio, to study and enjoy.

Worldwide Video Broadcast Standards

This site has a list of countries and their video broadcast standards; it includes information about the frequencies and the mains electricity voltages as well.

WPA Film Library

Large (400,000 records) American stockshot library which includes the British Pathé database with its helpful descriptions.