Mostly because reference sources can greatly improve the quality and the efficiency of your research. Specifically, these sources can:
Following is a brief listing of some key background sources found in Shain LIbrary's first-floor Reference Collection. But there are many, many more such sources! To access more in the reference collection, you can browse the stacks. Check out the call number range from PN1993 to PN1998, along with Z5784. For reference works specifically on national cinemas (African, Australian, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, etc.), browse the stacks at the PN1993.5 call number.
Also, you can search the library's OneSearch for sources on more specific topics. After you do your initial search (e.g., "film noir"), find the filters on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the filter that says "Reference," and the search results will display only reference materials. For more help with searching for books, go to the Searching for Articles and Books page of this guide, or schedule a consultation with the film studies liaison librarian.