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To end posting on film databases, I herby submit the complete Movie Database
FAQ. If it isn't in here, forget it. Since fhe FAQ is quite big, I had to split
it into two postings
Ulf
 
 
Copies of this article may be obtained by anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu
under /pub/usenet/news.answers/movies/movie-database-faq, or by sending e-mail
to <[log in to unmask]> with the subject "HELP FAQ"
 
Comments and suggestions on this FAQ are welcome and should be directed
to Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>.
 
Changes:
 - easier ways to submit new data (Q 16)
 - clarification of example in Q 11
 - contact addresses (Q 24)
 
MOVIE DATABASE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
=========================================
 
This is a guide to the rec.arts.movies movie database. The database is
available in several forms on the internet and provides one of the most
comprehensive sources of free on-line movie information, ranging from the
early cinema to the latest releases. Questions about how to access the movie
database or questions which could easily be answered using it seem to be
generating a lot of traffic these days so please keep this guide around for
reference. Topics and questions covered are:
 
SECTION ONE: General Information
 
 (1) What is the movie database?
 (2) Searching the database
 (3) How is the database organised?
 (4) Where does the information come from?
 (5) How can I add to the database?
 (6) Expanding the type of information covered
 (7) Distributing the database
 (8) A brief history of the whole project
 (9) Key to the titles
(10) Key to the symbols appearing in filmographies
(11) Appearances in TV-series before an actor was even born!
(12) Who are the list managers and what do they look like?
(13) Can I get hold of the source datafiles in plain ASCII?
(14) How frequently is the database updated?
(15) How long should I expect it to take for updates to be processed?
(16) Easier ways to submit new data
 
SECTION TWO: Specific Queries
 
How do I find...
 
(17) all the information on a particular movie?
(18) all the information on a particular person?
(19) filmographies for everyone associated with a movie?
(20) full details of all the movies associated a person?
(21) a list of all the movies released in a particular year?
(22) a list of all the movies starring two particular people?
(23) a list of people who've played a particular character?
(24) when/where someone was born/died?
(25) a contact address for someone
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
SECTION ONE
===========
 
1. What is the movie database?
==============================
 
The movie database is an international volunteer effort coordinated via the
USENET newsgroup rec.arts.movies. The objective of the database is to provide
useful and up to date movie information *freely* available on-line, across as
many systems and platforms as possible. It currently covers over 31,000 movies
with over 370,000 filmography entries and is expanding continuously. The
database includes filmographies for actors, directors, writers, composers,
cinematographers, editors, production designers, costume designers and
producers; plot summaries; character names; movie ratings; year of release;
running times; movie trivia; quotes; goofs; soundtracks; personal trivia and
Academy Award information. Several thousand of the movies are covered
completely from the major actors to the minor bit players. In their ASCII
form, the source datafiles currently occupy about 18Mb of disk-space. All the
information comes from the users of the database so please continue to support
it and help it to grow.
 
 
2. Searching the database
=========================
 
The database can be searched in a variety of ways either on the internet or
by directly installing the information locally on your system.
 
2.1 e-mail interface
--------------------
 
For details send a message with the subject HELP to <[log in to unmask]>
and the movie mail-server will respond with a guide.
 
 
2.2 WWW interface
-----------------
 
The database is available via the World Wide Web. Access is via a
"browser". The two main WWW browsers are Mosaic and Lynx...
 
Mosaic (X windows, MS-Windows, Mac, Amiga) ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu  /Web
lynx   (vt100)                             ftp.wustl.edu /packages/www/lynx
 
From your browser, OPEN or GO to the any of the following documents:
 
  http://www.cm.cf.ac.uk/Movies/        (European users prefered)
  http://www.msstate.edu/Movies/        (USA/rest of world prefered)
  http://ballet.cit.gu.edu.au/Movies/   (Australian users *only*)
 
Please help spread the load on these servers and use the one nearest to you.
 
See the comp.infosystems.www FAQ for more information on the WWW.
 
 
2.3 local installation (Unix/Amiga)
-----------------------------------
 
The movie database package enables you to install the data locally and
provides a variety of search tools. It is available via anonymous FTP:
 
 cathouse.org  in  /pub/cathouse/movies/database/tools/moviedb-3.0.tar.Z
 
 ftp.funet.fi  in  /pub/culture/tv+film/lists/tools/moviedb-3.0.tar.gz
 
see the README file in the same directories for more information. The Amiga
version is in the file mdb2_8_Amiga.lha
 
You will need between 3 and 12 Mb of local disk-space depending on how much of
the data you want to access and whether you choose to compress it or not. All
the programs automatically support compressed database files with just a
reasonable performance hit.
 
 
2.4 local installation (MS-DOS)
-------------------------------
 
The CineBASE program provides an MS-DOS interface to the database and is
also available via anonymous FTP:
 
  cathouse.org  in  /pub/cathouse/movies/database/tools/cb140.arj
 
  ftp.funet.fi  in  /pub/culture/tv+film/lists/tools/msdos/cb140.arj
 
The preloaded database files have also been made available on the ftp.funet.fi
site. You can avoid the lengthy install process by downloading all the files
in the /pub/culture/tv+film/lists/tools/msdos directory and following the
instructions in the program archive. Alternatively, the database can be loaded
directly from the .list files as posted to rec.arts.movies.
 
 
2.5 local installation (Acorn Machines)
---------------------------------------
 
The Credits program provides a RISC OS interface to the database for Acorn
machines and is available via anonymous FTP from:
 
 jpb.cse.bris.ac.uk
 
 
2.6 telnet access via WWW
-------------------------
 
There are several telnet'able WWW servers. Here are some examples;
 
 telnet info.cern.ch
    then type    go http://www.cm.cf.ac.uk/Movies/
 telnet www.njit.edu          (login: www)
    then type    g http://www.cm.cf.ac.uk/Movies/
 telnet ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu  (login: www)  needs vt100
    then look under "by Subject" then "Movies"
 
 
3. How is the database organised?
=================================
 
The database is made up of many lists which are maintained by different people
on the internet. The following table gives an overview:
 
 List                 | Maintained by
 ---------------------|--------------------------------------------|
 Actors               | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
 Actresses            | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
 Alternative Titles   | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
 Biographies          | Mark Harding <[log in to unmask]>
 Character Names      | Steve Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
 Cinematographers     | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
 Composers            | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
 Costume Designers    | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
 Crazy Credits        | Mark Harding <[log in to unmask]>
 Directors            | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
 Editors              | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
 Goofs                | Michael Gaines <[log in to unmask]>
 Movie Titles         | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
 Plot Summaries       | Colin Tinto <[log in to unmask]>
 Producers            | Andre Bernhardt <[log in to unmask]>
 Production Designers | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
 Quotes               | Lars J Aas <[log in to unmask]>
 Ratings              | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
 Running Times        | Gene Volovich <[log in to unmask]>
 Soundtracks          | Ron Higgins <[log in to unmask]>
 Trivia               | Murray Chapman <[log in to unmask]>
 Writers              | Jon Reeves <[log in to unmask]>
 ---------------------|--------------------------------------------|
 
All of the lists are available via anonymous FTP from:
 
  cathouse.org  in  pub/cathouse/movies/database
 
  ftp.funet.fi  in  pub/culture/tv+film/lists
 
some of the lists are posted either in full or in a highlighted form to the
newsgroup rec.arts.movies on a regular basis. The coverage is being expanded
continously and the database grows by several thousand entries per month. The
latest versions are always on the FTP sites listed above.
 
The following subsections describe the source lists in more detail.
 
3.1 Cast Lists
--------------
 
The character names information is now published with the main list files,
but is still maintained separately by Steve Hammond.
 
  List             | Maintained by
  -----------------|--------------------------------------
  Actors           | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
  Actresses        | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
  Character Names  | Steve Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
  -----------------|--------------------------------------
 
Highlights from the actors and actresses lists are posted to rec.arts.movies
on a regular basis and contain filmographies for most popular performers in
those categories. The versions on the FTP sites contain the full lists with
all the actors and actresses known to the database.
 
Each filmography entry consists of three pieces of information: the name,
the title and an attributes field to store, for example, academy award
nominations. Please note that guest appearances on TV-shows are not eligible
for the cast databases owing to the volume and accuracy of this type of
information.
 
Note that the actors and actress lists only contain filmography information -
biographical data such as date and place of birth, real name etc. is stored
in the biographies list.
 
3.2 Crew Lists
--------------
 
The following lists are of a similar format to the cast lists in that they
contain filmographies for people in the respective fields:
 
  List                 | Maintained by
  ---------------------|--------------------------------------------
  Cinematographers     | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
  Composers            | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
  Costume Designers    | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
  Directors            | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
  Editors              | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
  Producers            | Andre Bernhardt <[log in to unmask]>
  Production Designers | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
  Writers              | Jon Reeves <[log in to unmask]>
  ---------------------|--------------------------------------------
 
3.3 Titles Lists
----------------
 
The following lists contain information that relates to individual titles:
 
  List               | Maintained by
  -------------------|---------------------------------------
  Alternative Titles | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
  Crazy Credits      | Mark Harding <[log in to unmask]>
  Goofs              | Michael Gaines <[log in to unmask]>
  Movies             | Michel Hafner <[log in to unmask]>
  Plot Summaries     | Colin Tinto <[log in to unmask]>
  Quotes             | Lars J Aas <[log in to unmask]>
  Ratings            | Col Needham <[log in to unmask]>
  Running Times      | Gene Volovich <[log in to unmask]>
  Soundtracks        | Ron Higgins <[log in to unmask]>
  Trivia             | Murray Chapman <[log in to unmask]>
  -------------------|---------------------------------------
 
The alternative titles list contains original foreign language, video titles,
TV titles etc. for the primary titles in the database.
 
The crazy credits list contains trivia and jokes that appear in movie credits.
 
The goofs list contains a list of mistakes (or goofs) in movies.
 
The movies list contains the year of release of most movies in the database,
along with any awards given to the movie as a whole.
 
The plot summaries list has brief outlines of some of the movies in the
database along with the genres which the movies fit into (war, sf etc.).
 
The quotes list contains memorable quotes from movies.
 
The ratings list is the rec.arts.movies Movie Ratings Report which is a
massive on-going electronic poll wherein readers of the group rate movies
on a scale from 1 (bad) to 10 (good).
 
The running times list contains the length in minutes of movies in the
database.
 
The soundtracks list contains details of songs used on the soundtracks of
movies.
 
The trivia list contains all kinds of trivia for movies from cameo appearances
to behind-the-scenes information.
 
3.4 Biographies List
--------------------
 
The biographies list contains personal trivia on people in the database
including dates of birth, dates of death, mini-biographies, agent's addresses
and books about them.
 
 
4. Where does the information come from?
========================================
 
The list managers rely on users of the database to keep the information as
complete as possible. The data has been collected by people on the internet
over the last four or five years. If you notice something missing from the
database then please send it in - see question 5 for more information. Several
thousand movies and people are covered completely, but there are still huge
gaps in the coverage and help is always appreciated. Owing to the way the
database is organized it can take anything from a couple of days to several
weeks for information to make it into the individual lists so please be
patient.
 
 
5. How can I add to the database?
=================================
 
The most convenient way to send in new additions or corrections is via the
movie mail-sever's central collection service. For a submission guide send
a message with the subject:
 
  HELP ADD
 
to <[log in to unmask]> and the server will mail one back to you. Information
sent this way is batched up and mailed weekly to all the list managers. It is
then processed by the individual managers with the aid of some automatic list
management tools. Data sent to the mail-server can therefore be included much
more quickly than mailing the managers directly, although we are happy to
receive data directly if you prefer. This submissions interface has recently
been updated to mail a summary of your additions back and a report of any
lines not matching the required formats.
 
If you find the formats too complex there is now an alternative easier way to
submit additions on a title by title basis. There are no special formats to
learn, you just request a template for a movie, fill in any missing data and
mail it back to the server. For information on this interface send a message
with the subject:
 
  HELP UPDATE
 
to <[log in to unmask]>
 
For users accessing the database via the WWW, it is possible to use your WWW
browser to submit certain additions and/or corrections. The interface provides
a template for submissions and will email them to the appropriate address
on your behalf.
 
We are always working on making it easier to submit additions and corrections
to the database so suggestions are welcome. If you find a particular interface
hard to use and have some ideas on how to simplify it, please let us know. As
a result of the continual update of the additions interfaces please ensure
you have an up to date copy of the submission guidelines.
 
 
6. Expanding the type of information covered
============================================
 
If you have a new idea for information currently missing from the database
then please let me know. All we need is a willing volunteer to manage the new
list and it could be added quite quickly. I have a full suite of list
management support tools to help make the task easier. All you would need is
an interest in a particular area, access to anonymous FTP and the USENET group
rec.arts.movies (so the data could be published) and some disk space to store
the information and management tools.
 
 
7. Distributing the database
============================
 
The objective of the database is to provide useful and up to date movie
information *freely* available on-line, across as many systems and platforms
as possible. The information is NOT public domain, however, permission is
granted to distribute it freely in an electronic form only, providing the
following conditions are met: firstly, all the header and trailer information
in the various database files remain intact, and secondly, that NO FEE OF ANY
KIND IS CHARGED FOR ITS DISTRIBUTION. The data has been given freely by users
of the database over the years and managed on a volunteer basis, therefore we
do not feel it appropriate for anyone to profit financially from its
distribution. Please contact the various database managers directly for more
information.
 
This specifically forbids the distribution of the database on CD-ROM without
permission, again contact the database managers directly for more information.
 
-- Ulf Dalquist Dept. of Sociology --
 --  Box 114 221 00 Lund SWEDEN   --