(also available via e-mail: send subject "help" to email@example.com)
The Internet Movie Database illustrates the great potential of the Internet. Since 1989, volunteers under the direction of Col Needham have contributed to and coordinated additions and corrections from the Internet community to create a database that now lists over 40,000 movie, documentary, and television series titles and over 500,000 of the people credited with making them.
The Internet Movie Database includes movies produced in every part of the world and television series produced in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The movies range from silents to films currently in production. The movies tend to be main stream, listing very little in the way of experimental films, lesser-known documentaries, or pornography. The database is usually updated weekly.
Searching the database is as easy as point and click. In addition to title and name searches, the searcher can generate lists of films by certificate (age rating), country of origin, production company, or genre (as yet uncontrolled descriptors). The database provides a search form for character names, plot summaries, selected quotations, locations, soundtracks, year of release, and rating (a grade from one to ten voted on by the Internet community).
The Internet Movie Database has three main drawbacks . First, the database offers no boolean search capabilities. Second, the database is far from complete. Fewer than one in ten movies contain a complete physical description and summary, genre classifications, cast and credits, or age rating. Fewer than one in fourteen provide links to the good quality reviews archived in the rec.arts.movies.reviews Usenet newsgroup. Fewer than one in twenty include biographies. Finally, because the information comes directly from Internet users, the quality and authority of records vary.
Because searching is only possible by one data element at a time, the Internet Movie Database is best used to produce filmographies. Although all of the search indexes listed above are available, users who wish to view a film or individual's credit list will benefit the most. While not yet authoritative or complete enough to take the place of the CD-ROM movie databases or the multi-volume print compilations, the Internet Movie Database is highly recommended. Besides, which other film resources allows the reader to contribute ratings and corrections or
submit their own entries?
March 9, 1995