Since 1994, the Pacific Film Archive (PFA), a curatorial
department of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum
and Pacific Film Archive, has been developing CineFiles:
The Pacific Film Archive's Film Document Imaging Project.
The CineFiles project is significantly improving access to
information about film history by making available via the
Internet selected materials from one of the major film documentation
collections in the United States. On the CineFiles
users can already obtain detailed indexing information on
thousands of documents, and can view images of materials that
copyright holders have granted us permission to display. The
CineFiles database is a powerful and cost-effective reference
tool with a goal of opening PFA's collection to the widest
Actively compiled since 1972, the PFA film documentation
collection currently includes more than 200,000 documents
covering more than a century of film history. It includes
materials such as American and international press kits; filmmaker's
texts and correspondence; festival and premiere programs;
excerpts from thousands of out–of–print publications;
exhibitor manuals and advertising campaigns; film reviews;
interviews; pamphlets; and other documents. PFA collects and
preserves rare historical film documents and centralizes access
to materials that would otherwise have to be gathered from
a variety of sources.
Before CineFiles was accessible via the Internet, PFA's collections
were used by an average of 5,000 people annually, including
2,000 in–person visits and 3,000 requests transacted
by phone or mail. Website statistics show that the CineFiles
database is now consulted nearly 100,000 times per year, demonstrating
that use of the collection increases significantly as it becomes
- Initial research and development of CineFiles commenced
in 1994. To date, the project has received support from
the National Endowment for the Humantities, the Packard
Humanties Institute, the Library Services and Technology
Act, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and many
- CineFiles data resides in a customized, highly sophisticated
SQL relational database. Documents are scanned and indexed
in line with national library standards and rigorously monitored
to ensure accuracy and consistency.
- Each CineFiles document is retrievable via the Internet
from multiple access points that include title, author,
source, date, and subject. Films are indexed and retrievable
by title, director, country, production company, genre and
- To date, more than 40,000 documents have been processed,
representing nearly one–fourth of the current collection.
These include thousands of unique archival objects such
as rare exhibitor manuals, and materials on the works of
more than 125 significant American and international directors.
- Procedures to obtain copyright permission to display scanned
documents have been streamlined and integrated into the
project, with thousands of documents already cleared. IMLS
funds are supporting research into improving the permissions
process and developing guidelines for best practices for
working with copyright–protected materials.
PFA's long–term goal is to gradually process its entire
documentation collection. Because this is an ambitious,
multi–year undertaking, PFA intends to raise funds from
a variety of sources to ensure the project's continued development.
To maximize the usefulness and breadth of the database, PFA
will continue to prioritize the processing of materials on
films made by prominent directors. This will provide scholars
and film enthusiasts a convenient, quick, and extensive reference
to information about world cinema.