We want the collections to contain the broadest range of information, research and study material for all aspects of moving image (film, television, video, video games, interactive multimedia, virtual reality, digital), reflecting the cultural, industrial and social impact and influence of the field.

The collection has an international scope, but with a particular focus on moving image in the UK.

We choose pieces on the quality of writing, language and level of treatment, and other criteria including currency, accuracy, authority and overlap with other resources in the collections.

We also consider whether pieces are useful for enquiry work and provide filmographic detail, because the collections drive everything we do at the library and lots of the BFI’s activity too.

We collect every individual BFI publication.

We generally keep only one copy of any item.

We collect some materials on wider and related subjects (such as radio, mass media and communications, popular culture, advertising, lifestyle magazines) if they are relevant to our main subject areas.

We’ll make an exception to any of these criteria if an item has some unique information, for example if it is the only journal from a particular country.

We don’t collect:

  • materials in non-Roman alphabets unless it comes with a good translation
  • novels, including novelisations
  • technical manuals or journals
  • children’s books and magazines
  • TV tie-ins, unless there’s substantial information about an episode, programme or personality, or the visual content has some unique or distinctive information about programming
  • fan literature, except as indicative examples
  • newspaper and magazine cuttings
  • cinema programmes, except as indicative examples