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Frequently Asked Questions about Academy Collections

What will I find on Academy Collections?
How should I search Academy Collections?
What is the difference between a moving image work and a moving image manifestation?
I found the record for a film, now how do I access it?
Why are some videos viewable and others not?
Can I save my selections for the next time that I visit the site?
Can I view items in person?
When can I expect a response to my email request?
Can I order reproductions of images in Academy Collections?


What will I find on Academy Collections?


Academy Collections brings together the holdings of the Academy Film Archive and a portion of the holdings of the Margaret Herrick Library for search and discovery. We are in the process of migrating many more collections, so please check back regularly for new items.


Academy Film Archive


Academy Collections currently includes records for all of the Academy Film Archive’s inventoried moving images. More information about the Archive’s collections can be found on our Collection Policy page and the Collection Profile page. To view a list of moving images preserved by the Academy Film Archive, visit the Preserved Films page.


For more extensive research questions, or to inquire further about a specific holding, you may send an email to the Academy Film Archive staff using the Research Request form accessible here or from the My Selection section of the site.


Margaret Herrick Library


Academy Collections currently includes records for the Library’s digitized photographs, production art and posters, and a selection of special and core collection materials. Databases for the Library’s additional materials (books, periodicals, screenplays, clipping files, manuscripts and photographs) can be found on the Library’s Resources page.


For more extensive research questions, or to inquire further about Library holdings not included in the database, you may send an email to the Margaret Herrick Library reference staff using this form. A telephone reference service is also available for the Margaret Herrick Library’s collection on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 2pm Pacific Time at (310) 247-3020.


How should I search Academy Collections?


The best search method depends on how many hits you would like your search to yield and how specific you would like those results to be. Records provide descriptive information about the holdings, and many also include digital previews. Please note that not all collection holdings have been digitized and that not all digitized collection holdings can be made available for online viewing.


  • Simple search looks across all of Academy Collections, retrieving both film title records and library item records. A simple search by film title, for example, will retrieve the records for any collection materials related to that title – including some behind the scenes footage, photographs, production art, posters, and the film itself.

  • Advanced search allows you to build more specific and layered searches. First, select the type of record: moving image, library, person and institution, or collection. Enter in search terms field by field. You can search on multiple fields at once, such as for photographs of Marilyn Monroe between 1950 and 1953. Hover the cursor over any underlined field name for field-specific search tips.

  • Expert search will be most useful to users who know exactly what they are looking for. It allows you to construct complex search statements using the Boolean operators “AND” and “OR” and provides an expanded list of fields available. It also offers a way to search the same field for multiple values, such as for films that include both Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as cast members.


What is the difference between a moving image work and a moving image manifestation?


A moving image work is the highest level of description where cast, credits, dates, country of origin, subject, and genre information are found. A work can be finished or unfinished, produced or unproduced. One level down in the hierarchy, a moving image manifestation refers to a physical embodiment of a moving image work. A single work may have multiple manifestations: for example, the Academy Film Archive's collection contains two versions for the work GRAPES OF WRATH (1940). One manifestation represents the original release of the film. The second represents the French dubbed version of the film, entitled LES RAISINS DE LA COLERE. Each item in the moving image catalog is grouped under the appropriate manifestation.


Cataloging is still in progress, so not all moving image manifestations in our catalog are currently associated with moving image works. If your search for a title is not returning the expected results, try doing an Expert search for “Title - contains” in moving image manifestations.


I found the record for a film, now how do I access it?


Near the bottom of a film title record, you will find holdings information. You may see lists of Film items, Video items, Audio items, and Digital items (or some combination thereof). If the holdings include a Digital items section, look for “File” holdings and follow the links to the item record pages. Any videos available for playback will be viewable from the item record pages.


Digitized content may be restricted to on-site viewing. For more information about accessing the Academy Film Archive's collections, please contact Public Access staff at filmarchive@oscars.org.


Why are some videos viewable and others not?


The Academy Film Archive’s collection includes films from the advent of filmmaking to recently released films, reflecting the history of moving images and a wide range of stories through the eyes of the filmmakers. We are actively working to make more videos accessible to view remotely, prioritizing films that we have preserved and those in the public domain. We are not able to publish all items that have been digitized to our public website, as we do not own the rights to a large portion of the collection.


Some digitized content may be restricted to on-site viewing. For more information about accessing the Academy Film Archive's collections or questions about specific moving images, please contact Public Access staff at filmarchive@oscars.org or submit a Research Request.


Can I save my selections for the next time that I visit the site?


There is not currently a way to save your selections. You do, however, have the option to print or email your selections from the My Selection page for future reference.


Can I view items in person?


Collection materials are held in two locations, the Academy Film Archive at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study and the Margaret Herrick Library at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study. Please consult the access policies and procedures outlined in detail on the Academy’s main website before scheduling an appointment:


  • Academy Film Archive: Rules
  • Margaret Herrick Library: Using the Library

  • Once you have made your selection of items that you would like to view in person, use the Research Request form on the My Selection section of the site to request an appointment.


    When can I expect a response to my email request?


    You may expect to receive a response within three business days from the Margaret Herrick Library and within ten days from the Academy Film Archive Public Access Center.


    Can I order reproductions of images in Academy Collections?


    If you would like to purchase high-resolution digital scans, please use the “Selection” tool to create a list of images you would like reproduced and send it to yourself via email. You may request reproductions by forwarding the list and any specific instructions to the Academy’s National Film Information Service at nfis@oscars.org.