How do I locate films and videos held by the Library of Congress?

Please note when searching for moving image materials in the Library of Congress that subject is not our primary point of access. Most films, videos, digital files and DVDs in our collection have not been fully cataloged, therefore TITLE is our primary mode of access. In addition, there is no comprehensive catalog for our holdings. Searching for moving image material in the Library of Congress may involve the use of one or more of the following resources:

  • Library of Congress Online Catalog
  • Merged Audiovisual Information System (MAVIS)
  • Card Catalogs
  • Published Catalog, Finding Aids, Guides, and Collection Inventories

Library of Congress Online Catalog

To search the online catalog for moving image materials, you can use the BROWSEADVANCED SEARCH or KEYWORD search functions. All searches allow you to apply limits, but only the advanced search page provides multiple search fields.

Merged Audiovisual Information System (MAVIS)

MAVIS is an internal database that can only be accessed in the Moving Image Research Center at the Library of Congress; it does not have an online public interface. MAVIS was designed for the processing and management of audiovisual collections. This means that the database contains more physical information about an object than bibliographic information. 

There is no definable difference between the items contained in the online catalog and the items contained in MAVIS. If you are unable to locate a title in the online catalog, contact the Moving Image Research Center and we will search MAVIS for you.

Card Catalogs

Yes! We still utilize card catalogs in our research room. The cards are organized by title. The production of new catalog cards ended in the late 1980s with the evolution of the online catalog. If you are unable to locate a title in the online catalog or see the phrase ‘holdings information not available”, please contact the Moving Image Research Center and we will search the card catalogs for you.

Published Catalogs, Finding Aids, Guides, and Collection Inventories

Our collection of published catalogs, finding aids and collection inventories cover numerous subjects. Several of these finding aids can be found on our website at http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/findaid/mpfind.html.

In addition, we have a number of finding aids and collection inventories that are not currently available online, but may be requested by contacting the reference staff. Subjects include World War I, Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights on TV, Women’s Suffrage, among others. For additional information, please contact the Moving Image Research Center.

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Last Updated: Jun 10, 2020
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Please Note

We cannot provide subject research for stock footage or copying of most of the films and videos in our collection.

Additional Ways to Contact Us

Please send written correspondence to:

Moving Image Research Center
101 Independence Ave. SE
James Madison Building, LM 336
Washington, D.C. 20540-4690