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Subject: Movie Database: Frequently Asked Questions List

This article was archived around: 6 Nov 1997 08:05:57 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: movies
All FAQs posted in: rec.arts.movies.misc, rec.arts.movies.people, rec.arts.movies.current-films, rec.arts.movies.past-films, alt.cult-movies, rec.arts.sf.movies
Source: Usenet Version


Archive-name: movies/movie-database-faq Posting-Frequency: weekly Last-modified: 1997/10/09 Version: 1.65
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 <mail-server@imdb.com> with the subject "HELP FAQ" Comments and suggestions on this FAQ are welcome and should be directed to the database co-ordinator, Col Needham <cn@imdb.com>. Changes: - new question 19 on problems accessing the WWW site INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ================================================== This is a guide to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). The database is available in several forms on the Internet and provides the most comprehensive source of free on-line movie information, ranging from the early cinema to the latest releases. 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) The Internet Movie Database Team (5) Where does the information come from? (6) How can I add to the database? (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) Key to movie ratings (12) Appearances in TV-series before an actor was even born! (13) What do the (I), (II) etc. mean in some names? (14) How frequently is the database updated? (15) Easier ways to submit new data (16) Taking Part in the Movie Ratings Poll (17) How to get a review included in the WWW interface (18) How to keep a local installation of the database up-to-date (19) Problems connecting to the IMDb web site? SECTION TWO: Specific Queries Where to find further information ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- SECTION ONE =========== 1. What is the movie database? ============================== The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an international organization whose objective 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 120,000 movies with over 1,750,000 filmography entries and is expanding continuously. The service is financed by advertising and sponsorship. The Internet Movie Database is a Limited Company registered in the UK. The database includes filmographies for actors, directors, writers, composers, cinematographers, editors, production designers, costume designers, producers and a miscellaneous catch all section; plot summaries; character names; movie ratings; year of release; running times; movie trivia; quotes; goofs; soundtracks; personal trivia; alternative names; certificates; color information; country of production; genres; production companies; sound mix; reference literature; filming locations; sequel/remake information; release dates; advertising tag lines; detailed technical data; alternative versions; laserdisc availability; language; special effects; distributors; box office grosses; movie posters; video sales links and Academy Award information. The database aims to capture any and all information associated with movies from across the world, starting with the earliest cinema, going through to the very latest releases and even movies still in production. Many thousands of movies are covered completely from the major actors to the minor bit players and crew members. The database is updated weekly and is available over the World Wide Web, an e-mail interface or for local installation on Unix, Amiga OS/2, Windows 95/NT (text only), Amiga and MS-DOS machines. In its seven year history the IMDb has grown from a small informal project to a major Internet resource. The WWW interface to the database is one of the most popular and well-known sites of any class on the web. It is frequently cited as a model for how to create and organise a major web site and has received numerous awards and honours over the years. 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 WWW interface ----------------- The Internet Movie Database is available over the WWW. The following URLs locate identical(*) copies of the www interface: http://us.imdb.com/ [USA] http://uk.imdb.com/ [UK] http://italy.imdb.com/ [Italy] (*) The Italian site has additional information of use to Italian speakers, such as Italian translations of non-Italian movies. News and pointers to the other IMDb sites are available at IMDb HQ: http://www.imdb.com/ 2.2 e-mail interface -------------------- For details send a message with the subject HELP to <mail-server@imdb.com> and the movie mail-server will respond with a guide. 2.3 local installation (Unix) ----------------------------- The Unix Internet Movie Database package enables you to install the data locally and provides a variety of search tools. It is available via anonymous FTP: uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu in /pub/info/imdb/tools/moviedb-3.3d.tar.gz gatekeeper.digital.com.au in /pub/imdb/tools/moviedb-3.3d.tar.gz ftp.fu-berlin.de in /pub/misc/movies/database/tools/moviedb-3.3d.tar.gz ftp.funet.fi in /pub/culture/tv+film/database/tools/moviedb-3.3d.tar.gz see the README file in the same directories for more information. You will need around 100 Mb of local disk-space. The Unix interface is written and maintained by Col Needham <cn@imdb.com>. An interactive front-end for the Unix interface is available from the ftp sites in: tools/imoviedb-2.3.tar.gz A LaTeX pretty printer for the interface is also available in: tools/moviedb2tex-2.0.shar.gz The two add-on packages are written by Philippe Queinnec <queinnec@enseeiht.fr> 2.4 local installation (Amiga) ------------------------------ An interface for the Amiga is also available, complete with an easy to use graphical front-end. The Amiga version is available on all AmiNet ftp sites and also on the IMDb ftp sites: uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu in /pub/info/imdb/tools/amiga/ gatekeeper.digital.com.au in /pub/imdb/tools/amiga/ ftp.fu-berlin.de in /pub/misc/movies/database/tools/amiga/ ftp.funet.fi in /pub/culture/tv+film/database/tools/amiga/ If you have any further questions concerning the Amiga interface, please contact its author, Andre Bernhardt <amiga@imdb.com>. 2.5 local installation (MS-DOS) ------------------------------- The CineBASE program provides an MS-DOS interface to the database and is also available via anonymous FTP: uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu in /pub/info/imdb/tools/msdos/ gatekeeper.digital.com.au in /pub/imdb/tools/msdos/ ftp.fu-berlin.de in /pub/misc/movies/database/tools/msdos/ ftp.funet.fi in /pub/culture/tv+film/database/tools/msdos/ The program uses a different internal database format than the Unix interface described above and, as a result, you'll need approximately 95Mb of disk-space for a full CineBASE installation. If you have any further questions concerning CineBASE, please contact its author, Henry Lebovic <msdos@imdb.com>. 2.6 local installation (OS/2) ----------------------------- Steffen Siebert's Alternative Movie Database package (AMD) provides both a graphical and command line interface to the IMDb for OS/2: uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu in /pub/info/imdb/tools/os2/ gatekeeper.digital.com.au in /pub/imdb/tools/os2/ ftp.fu-berlin.de in /pub/misc/movies/database/tools/os2/ ftp.funet.fi in /pub/culture/tv+film/database/tools/os2/ 2.7 local installation (Acorn) ------------------------------ John Baker's Credits program is an IMDb interface for Acorn computers which uses the same database files as the Unix package and is available from: http://www.cse.bris.ac.uk/~ccjpb/ftp/ ftp://jpb.cse.bris.ac.uk/ Rick Hudson's MovieDB package also provides an interface for Acorn machines: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/6722/soft.html 2.8 local installation (Windows 95/Windows NT) ---------------------------------------------- The Alternative Movie Database package is also available as a text only interface for Win-32 systems (95/NT): uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu in /pub/info/imdb/tools/win32/ ftp.funet.fi in /pub/culture/tv+film/database/tools/win32/ ftp.fu-berlin.de in pub/misc/movies/database/tools/win32/ ftp.sunet.se in /pub/tv+movies/imdb/tools/win32/ 3. How is the database organised? ================================= The database is made up of many separate sections each one with its own expert editor. The following table gives an overview: List | Maintained by ---------------------|-------------------------------------------| Actors | Col Needham <actors@imdb.com> Actresses | Col Needham <actresses@imdb.com> Alternative Names | Michel Hafner <aka-names@imdb.com> Alternative Titles | Michel Hafner <aka-titles@imdb.com> Alternative Versions | Giancarlo Cairella <versions@imdb.com> Awards | Oliver Heidelbach <awards@imdb.com> Biographies | Mark Harding <biographies@imdb.com> Business | Giancarlo Cairella <business@imdb.com> Cast Completion | Col Needham <cn@imdb.com> Crew Completion | Col Needham <cn@imdb.com> Certificates | Mark Harding <certificates@imdb.com> Cinematographers | Michel Hafner <cinematographers@imdb.com> Color Information | Mark Harding <color@imdb.com> Composers | Michel Hafner <composers@imdb.com> Costume Designers | Peter Simeon <costumes@imdb.com> Countries | Mark Harding <countries@imdb.com> Crazy Credits | Mark Harding <crazy-credits@imdb.com> Directors | Michel Hafner <directors@imdb.com> Distributors | Rob Hartill <prod-companies@imdb.com> DVDs | Peter Simeon <dvd@imdb.com> Editors | Peter Simeon <editors@imdb.com> Genres | Colin Tinto <genres@imdb.com> Goofs | Murray Chapman <goofs@imdb.com> Language | Mark Harding <release-dates@imdb.com> Laser Discs | Peter Simeon <laserdiscs@imdb.com> Literature | Giancarlo Cairella <literature@imdb.com> Locations | Rob Hartill <locations@imdb.com> Misc. Companies | Mark Harding <release-dates@imdb.com> Misc. Filmography | Peter Simeon <misc-crew@imdb.com> Movie Links | Col Needham <movie-links@imdb.com> Movies | Michel Hafner <original-titles@imdb.com> MPAA Ratings Reasons | Mark Harding <mah@imdb.com> Plot Summaries | Colin Tinto <plots@imdb.com> Producers | Andre Bernhardt <producers@imdb.com> Production Companies | Rob Hartill <prod-companies@imdb.com> Production Designers | Peter Simeon <prod-designers@imdb.com> Quotes | Bob Glickstein <quotes@imdb.com> Ratings | Col Needham <cn@imdb.com> Release Dates | Mark Harding <release-dates@imdb.com> Running Times | Mark Harding <running-times@imdb.com> SFX Companies | Rob Hartill <prod-companies@imdb.com> Sound Mix | Mark Harding <sound-mix@imdb.com> Soundtracks | Ron Higgins <soundtracks@imdb.com> Tag Lines | Rob Hartill <tag-lines@imdb.com> Technical Info | Peter Simeon <simeon@imdb.com> Trivia | Murray Chapman <trivia@imdb.com> Writers | Jon Reeves <writers@imdb.com> ---------------------|-------------------------------------------| All of the files are available via anonymous FTP from: uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu in pub/info/imdb gatekeeper.digital.com.au in /pub/imdb ftp.fu-berlin.de in pub/misc/movies/database ftp.funet.fi in pub/culture/tv+film/database The coverage is being expanded continously and the database grows by thousands of entries per week. The latest versions are always on the FTP sites listed above (updated every Saturday) The following subsections describe the database sections (lists) in more detail. 3.1 Cast Lists -------------- List | Maintained by ---------------------|------------------------------------------- Actors | Col Needham <actors@imdb.com> Actresses | Col Needham <actresses@imdb.com> Cast Completion | Col Needham <cn@imdb.com> ---------------------|------------------------------------------- Each filmography entry consists of up to five pieces of information: the name, the title, an attributes field (to store, for example, academy award nominations), the character name and a number to specify their position in the credits. 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. Guest appearances for well-known people can be stored separately in the biographies section. 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. The cast completion list simply records which movies have full cast lists in the database (i.e. everyone listed in the credits of the movie is in the actors/actresses lists). 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 <cinematographers@imdb.com> Composers | Michel Hafner <composers@imdb.com> Costume Designers | Harald Mayr <costumes@imdb.com> Directors | Michel Hafner <directors@imdb.com> Editors | Harald Mayr <editors@imdb.com> Misc. Filmography | Col Needham <miscellaneous@imdb.com> Producers | Andre Bernhardt <producers@imdb.com> Production Designers | Harald Mayr <prod-designers@imdb.com> Writers | Jon Reeves <writers@imdb.com> ---------------------|------------------------------------------- The miscellaneous filmography list is a "catch all" for people in careers not covered by the other filmography lists. Anyone who worked on a movie can be listed here. The idea is to spin-off new filmography lists from it if the volume of data relating to a particular type of contribution justifies a new separate list. 3.3 Titles Lists ---------------- The following sections contain information relating to individual titles: List | Maintained by ---------------------|------------------------------------------- Alternative Titles | Michel Hafner <aka-titles@imdb.com> Alternative Versions | Giancarlo Cairella <versions@imdb.com> Awards | Oliver Heidelbach <awards@imdb.com> Business | Giancarlo Cairella <business@imdb.com> Certificates | Mark Harding <certificates@imdb.com> Color Information | Mark Harding <color@imdb.com> Countries | Mark Harding <countries@imdb.com> Crazy Credits | Mark Harding <crazy-credits@imdb.com> Distributors | Rob Hartill <prod-companies@imdb.com> Genres | Colin Tinto <genres@imdb.com> Goofs | Murray Chapman <goofs@imdb.com> Language | Mark Harding <release-dates@imdb.com> Laser Discs | Peter Simeon <laserdiscs@imdb.com> Literature | Giancarlo Cairella <literature@imdb.com> Locations | Rob Hartill <locations@imdb.com> Misc. Companies | Mark Harding <release-dates@imdb.com> Movie Links | Col Needham <movie-links@imdb.com> Movies | Michel Hafner <original-titles@imdb.com> MPAA Ratings Reasons | Mark Harding <mah@imdb.com> Plot Summaries | Colin Tinto <plots@imdb.com> Production Companies | Rob Hartill <prod-companies@imdb.com> Quotes | Bob Glickstein <quotes@imdb.com> Ratings | Col Needham <cn@imdb.com> Release Dates | Mark Harding <release-dates@imdb.com> Running Times | Mark Harding <running-times@imdb.com> SFX Companies | Rob Hartill <prod-companies@imdb.com> Sound Mix | Mark Harding <sound-mix@imdb.com> Soundtracks | Ron Higgins <soundtracks@imdb.com> Tag Lines | Rob Hartill <tag-lines@imdb.com> Technical Info | Peter Simeon <simeon@imdb.com> Trivia | Murray Chapman <trivia@imdb.com> ---------------------|------------------------------------------- The alternative titles list contains original foreign language, video titles, TV titles etc. for the primary titles in the database. The alternative versions list describes differences between various releases of the same movies (directors cuts, censorship issues etc) The certificates list contains the certificates / ratings classifications (MPAA, BBFC etc.) The color information list records whether the movie was shot in color or black & white. The countries list records the country of origin. The crazy credits list contains trivia and jokes appearing in movie credits. The distributors list records the name or names of companies that distributed movies, this covers both domestic, international, re-releases and video releases. The genres list records the genres which describe the movie. The goofs list contains a list of unintentional mistakes in movies. The laserdisc list contains details of LD releases. The literature list records references to essays, critical analyses and books relating to specific movies. The locations list holds information on where movies were filmed (with the exception of studio locations which are covered in the 'business' list). The movie links list notes links between movies in the database, such as sequels, remakes and also trivial connections such as homages and spoofs. The movies list contains the year of release along with any awards given to the movie as a whole. The MPAA ratings reasons list contains extra information on why movies have been awarded particular certificates by the MPAA (violence, sex, language etc). The information is provided by the MPAA themselves. The plot summaries list has brief outlines of the movies in the database. The production companies list records the production company / studio which produced the movie. The quotes list contains memorable quotes. The ratings list is a massive on-going electronic poll wherein users of the database rate movies on a ten point scale from 1 (bad) to 10 (good). The release dates list records the release dates of movies on a country by country basis. The running times list contains the length in minutes of movies in the database. The sound mix list records whether movies are recorded in mono, stereo etc. The soundtracks list contains details of songs featured on the soundtracks. The taglines list contains advertising tag lines used to publicise movies (e.g. for Alien "In space no-one can hear you scream") The technical list records technical information such as aspect ratio, negative formats, print formats, cinematographic process etc. 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 but not limited to: dates of birth, dates of death, mini-biographies, agent's addresses, marital status and other works. 3.5 Alternative Names List -------------------------- The alternative names list contains details of different names people have been billed under during their careers. 4. The Internet Movie Database Team =================================== If you have any comments or suggestions which are appropriate for the whole team, we can be reached via e-mail at: <feedback@imdb.com> Please DO NOT use this address to send additions and corrections to the content of the database. Also, suggestions and comments on specific sections should be mailed directly to the appropriate manager. The WWW feedback page is accessible via: http://www.imdb.com/feedback Further details of responsibilities are accessible at: http://www.imdb.com/organization 5. Where does the information come from? ======================================== The information in the database comes from a variety of sources. We try to work with direct sources such as studio press kits or from the people listed themselves. We also rely on users of the database to keep the information as complete as possible. If you notice something missing from the database then please send it in - see question 6 for more information. Several thousand movies and people are covered completely, but there are still gaps in the coverage and help is always appreciated. Almost all information received by Thursday morning (UK time) is online by the start of Monday. If you find the database useful then an excellent way to show your appreciation is to send some missing data along and help make the IMDb better for everyone. 6. How can I add to the database? ================================= The most convenient way to send new additions or corrections is via the buttons at the bottom of most pages in the web interface. These provide forms based interfaces to the additions system For a complete submissions guide to the direct additions system, send e-mail with the subject: HELP ADD FULL to <mail-server@imdb.com>. This guide contains all the information listed in the more specific guides described below and should have everything you need to know about adding to the database. Additional information is available from: http://us.imdb.com/Guides/ For a guide specifically covering the easier e-mail template based additions interface only, send e-mail to the server with the subject: HELP UPDATE This interface is very easy to use and there are no special formats to learn, you just request a template for a movie or person, fill in any missing data and mail it back to the server. 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 certain conditions are met. A copy of the license attached to each database file is included below for reference. License ------- This is a database of movie related information compiled by Internet Movie Database Ltd (IMDb). While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the database IMDb gives no warranty as to the accuracy of the information contained in the database. IMDb reserves the right to withdraw or delete information at any time. This service is provided for the information of users only. It is not provided with the intention that users rely upon the information for any purposes. Accordingly, IMDb shall under no circumstances be liable for any loss or damage, including but not limited to loss of profits, goodwill or indirect or consequential loss arising out of any use of or inaccuracies in the information. All warranties express or implied are excluded to the fullest extent permissible by law. All information in this file is Copyright 1997 Internet Movie Database Limited. Reproduction, distribution or transmission by any means without the prior permission of IMDb is prohibited. All rights reserved. For further information contact <licensing@imdb.com> ------------------------------------------------------- All data and software released by Internet Movie Database Ltd is freely available to anyone within certain limitations. You are encouraged to quote subsets of the database in USENET articles, movie related FAQs, magazine articles etc. We do ask, however, that you make reference to the source of the data and provide a pointer to the database for the benefit of the reader. Permission is granted by the copyright holder to allow free distribution of this file and any other part of the Internet Movie Database in an ELECTRONIC FORM ONLY, providing the following conditions are met: 1. NO FEE OF ANY KIND, however indirect, will be charged for its distribution. If this file is being stored for later distribution to anyone that can be construed as a customer of yourself or your organisation YOU MUST contact Internet Movie Database Ltd for permission. 2. Each of the database files may be distributed individually but only in an unaltered form. All the header and trailer information, including this notice and the details on how to access the database, must remain intact. 3. Specifically the files may NOT be used to construct any kind of on-line database (except for individual personal use). Clearance for ALL such on-line data resources must be requested from Internet Movie Database Ltd 4. In addition, copies of the Internet Movie Database frequently asked questions list and additions guide must be made available in the same area / by the same method as the other database files. 5. CD-ROM distribution is prohibited without written permission from the Internet Movie Database Ltd Distribution by e-mail, BBS and Internet systems is positively encouraged within these limitations. The files and software which make up the movie database may be uploaded to commercial BBS systems providing that the above conditions are met and no *additional* fees are applied above the standard connect time or downloading charges. For further information contact <licensing@imdb.com> 8. A brief history of the whole project ======================================= So where did it all start? Well, it all began back in 1989 when someone started a discussion in the USENET newsgroup rec.arts.movies about who were the most attractive looking actresses around. In response to this thread, a college student in the US began to collect a list of all the actresses, along with the movies they had appeared in. The list was pretty disorganised to say the least and the original maintainer disappeared from the net after a few months. At this point Andy Krieg picked up the list, sorted it properly and began to post it monthly to rec.arts.movies under the title "THE LIST". In May of 1989 Chuck Musciano started the Movie Ratings Report, an on-going poll of movies posted weekly to the group. The two projects remained entirely separate for a couple of years, but it is appropriate to mention the start of the report here. I started the actors list in August 1990 and it proved a big success, growing very rapidly over a short space of time. It was limited to living actors (like the actress list) to keep the size down. Being a fan of older movies I was disappointed that I couldn't include some of my favourite actors since they were dead. Later that month I asked for volunteers to run a dead actors/actresses list and when nobody came forward I started the dead list. In September 1990 Dave Knight volunteered to manage a directors list to complement the cast lists. Seeing all the lists in rec.arts.movies, Grant Mason, a post-graduate student at Edinburgh, posted a request asking for some software to search the lists as a whole. Since I already had some very basic list processing shell scripts, I volunteered to publish them and the Internet Movie Database was born. Within a month, Jeff Sullivan volunteered to manage a writers list and by the end of 1990 Michel Hafner was managing the composers and cinematographers lists. Michel had some ideas on creating master reference lists of names and titles to keep everything consistent across the lists. He also suggested a list structure based on relations that was adopted. Throughout '91 and '92 the lists and software grew rapidly. Support was added for the movie ratings report and Michel's titles list which now meant you could access ratings and the year-of-release information in the database. Michel also launched a master reference list of alternative titles which enabled lots of redundancy in the database to be eliminated. Some of the original list managers had to give up their lists so things swapped around a little during this time. We got access to an FTP site at the University of Colorado which helped significantly since the data was then available all the time. Towards the end of '92 Steve Hammond volunteered to manage a character names database and Murray Chapman started the trivia list, agreeing to make it compatible with the software. Early in '93 Colin Tinto volunteered to start a plot summaries list and February '93 saw the launch of the first version of the software that was mostly in C. Jon Reeves also joined the team, taking over the writers list. Around this time we discussed the idea of making the database available on an e-mail server somewhere. Alan Jay volunteered to create and run it at the PC users group in London. The movie mail-server went public in the summer of '93 and still continues to serve hundreds of requests per day despite the increased availability of the web to most Internet users. In August '93 the cast lists were reorganised slightly so that all the data was available to the movie database package (up until then only entries for people with a certain number of requests were available publicly). In September '93 Mark Harding volunteered to manage a biographies list and the crazy credits section which used to be part of the trivia list. Rob Hartill set up a WWW interface to the database at Cardiff University. Also at this time, Andre Bernhardt expressed an interest in porting the movie database software to the Amiga and a release followed shortly afterwards. At the end of '93 I took over the actresses list from Andy Krieg. The six cast lists were merged to two, with the posted versions just being subsets of the full versions on the anonymous FTP sites. New filmography lists for editors, production designers and costume designers were also released. Henry Lebovic approached us about an MS-DOS interface to the database that he had been working on. In March '94 Andre volunteered to manage a producers filmography list, Lars Joergen Aas a quotes list, Ron Higgins a soundtracks list and support for the movie goofs list was added. Rob began to look at setting up mirror sites for his heavily used WWW interface database and mirrors appeared in Mississippi (run by Frank Peters), Australia (run by Mike Lawley), Iceland (run by Mark Townley), Germany (run by Wolfgang Klimt) and Japan (run by Jun-ichiro "itojun" Itoh). Also, Henry released CineBASE, the MS-DOS interface to the database, making the whole system accessible to even more people. In April '94 the movie mail-server additions interface was launched, meaning that updates for the whole database could now be sent to the same address, significantly simplifying things for the database managers and users. In May '94 the running times list was added to the database and the cast lists were reorganised to include the character names. During the latter part of '94 the new easier template based additions system, designed and managed by Mark Harding, was launched. This opened the database to many new contributors who'd previously been put-off by the long addition guidelines. In October '94 eight new lists were added to the database, significantly increasing the range of information available. The new lists were: alternative names, certificates, color information, countries, genres, miscellaneous filmographies, production companies and sound mix. The cast lists were enhanced to include credit ordering information, enabling the stars of each movie to be identified easily. In December '94 seven further lists were added, making virtually every class of movie information available within the database. The new lists were: the cast completion tracking, literature, locations, movie links, release dates, tag lines and technical information. During the early part of 1995 further WWW mirrors were added, newer sites being Korea, South Africa and a second site in the USA. A monthly IMDb newsletter was started, although the rate of growth on the database means it doesn't get published as often as it should. A new section describing the reasons behind the MPAA ratings was added to the database. In November '95 three new lists were added: the alternate versions list, managed by Giancarlo Cairella and the LaserDisc and ISO alternative titles lists, managed by Peter Simeon. The latter list being part of our long term effort to support international character sets within the database. Coinciding with the new lists, the WWW was completely rewritten from scratch by Rob. The new interface featured many new options and pages, complete with new icons designed by Mike Massee. In December '95 in an attempt to improve our WWW service we trimmed the number of mirror sites down to the four which were able to keep up with the growth in data volume and user traffic which the IMDb now receives. In March '96 the IMDb moved onto a professional footing and became a sponsorship and advertising supported service. Almost immediately we were able to make numerous improvements to the database, including a complete rewrite of the web interface to make it run faster. Also, the business information section managed by Giancarlo Cairella was added at the same time. This new section details box office grosses, budgets, studio locations and various other business related information. 9. Key to the titles ==================== The titles in the database fall into one of five categories: (1) movies, unless otherwise indicated the title is a movie (2) made for TV movies, indicated by a (TV) tag (3) made for video movies, indicated by a (V) tag (4) TV-series, indicated by enclosing the title in "'s (5) mini-series, indicated by enclosing the title in "'s and a (mini) tag 10. Key to the symbols appearing in filmographies ================================================= The filmography databases enable details of awards earned for or notes on a particular performance/contribution to be recorded. Each database has a different set of symbols, although some overlap where appropriate. Universal Symbols ----------------- (AA) = Academy Award winner in relevant category (AAN) = Academy Award nomination in relevant category (GG) = Golden Globe winner in relevant category (GGN) = Golden Globe nomination winner in relevant category (BFA) = British Academy Award ( = British Film Award ) (Cesar) = French Academy Award (David) = Italian Academy Award (Felix) = European Academy Award ( = European Film Award ) (Guldbagge) = Swedish Academy Award Title Key --------- (FL:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for best foreign movie (FL:AA) = Academy Award for best foreign movie (FL:GGN) = Golden Globe Nomination for best foreign language movie (FL:GG) = Golden Globe for best foreign language movie (GBB) = Golden Bear Berlin (GPC) = Golden Palm Cannes (SBB) = Silver Bear Berlin (GLV) = Golden Lion, Venice Acting Key ---------- (S:AA) = academy award winner (best supporting actor/actress) (S:AAN) = academy award nominee (best supporting actor/actress) (C:GG) = golden globe winner (best comedy/musical actor/actress) (C:GGN) = golden globe nominee (best comedy/musical actor/actress) (S:GG) = golden globe winner (best supporting actor/actress) (S:GGN) = golden globe nominee (best supporting actor/actress) (N:GG) = golden globe winner (best newcomer) Writers Key ----------- (song) = The writer is the author (composer?) of a song on which the screenplay was based. (story) = The writer contributed on the story for the screenplay only or the writer is the author of a story on which the movie was based. (play) = The writer is the author of the play on which the screenplay was based. (novel) = The writer is the author of the novel on which the screenplay was based. (novel XXX) = The writer is the author of the novel on which the screenplay was based, but the novel is not the same title as the movie. (book) = The writer is the author of the book on which the screenplay was based. (article) = The writer is the author of the article on which the screenplay was based. (operetta) = The writer is the author of the operetta on which the screenplay was based. (also XXX) = The writer was involved in some other aspect than just writing the screenplay. They may have authored the novel the screenplay was based on, or developed the story, etc. (A:AA) = Academy Award for Best Adaptation (A:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Adaptation (DS:AA) = Academy Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (DS:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (MPS:AA) = Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story (MPS:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Motion Picture Story (S:AA) = Academy Award for Best Screenplay (S:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay (SA:AA) = Academy Award for Best Screenplay - Adapted (SA:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay - Adapted (SAM:AA) = Academy Award for Best Screenplay - based on Another Medium (SAM:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay - based on Another Medium (SAO:AA) = Academy Award for Best Screenplay Adapted from Other Material (SAO:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay Adapted from Other Material (SO:AA) = Academy Award for Best Screenplay - Original (SO:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay - Original (SS:AA) = Academy Award for Best Story and Screenplay (SS:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Story and Screenplay (SSF:AA) = Academy Award for Best Story and Screenplay - based on Factual material or material not previously published or produced (SSF:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Story and Screenplay - based on Factual material or material not prev. published or produced (SSS:AA) = Academy Award for Best Story and Screenplay - written directly for the Screen (SSS:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Story and Screenplay - written directly for the Screen (StO:AA) = Academy Award for Best Story - Original (StO:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Best Story - Original (T:AA) = Academy Award for Title Writing (T:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Title Writing (WA:AA) = Academy Award for Writing Achievement (WA:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for Writing Acheivement (BA) = British Academy of Film and Television Arts for Best Screenplay (G) = Genie for Best Screenplay (GG) = Golden Globe for Best Screenplay Composers Key ------------- (A:AA) = Academy Award for best score adapted from another musical source (A:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for best score adapted from another musical source (AAA) = Australian Academy Award (D:AA) = Academy Award for best score in a drama or a comedy (D:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for best score in a drama or a comedy (M:AA) = Academy Award for best score in a musical (M:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for best score in a musical (O:AA) = Academy Award for best original score (O:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for best original score (BS:AA) = Academy Award for best song (BS:AAN) = Academy Award Nomination for best song (songs) = The composer composed songs for the movie (also songs) = The composer composed also songs for the movie 11. Key to movie ratings ======================== The movie ratings report is a massive on-going poll of movies rated on a scale from 1 (bad) to 10 (excellent) by users on the Internet. An example entry on the report is: 0000000115 3314 8.8 Casablanca (1942) For each movie, the vote distribution, the total number of votes and the average rating are shown. The vote distribution uses a single character to represent the percentage of votes for each ranking. The following characters codes can appear: "." no votes cast "3" 30-39% of the votes "7" 70-79% of the votes "0" 1-9% of the votes "4" 40-49% of the votes "8" 80-89% of the votes "1" 10-19% of the votes "5" 50-59% of the votes "9" 90-99% of the votes "2" 20-29% of the votes "6" 60-69% of the votes "*" 100% of the votes So, in our example above, "Casablanca" has received a total of 3314 votes, the average of the votes being 8.8 with 50-59% 10/10; 10-19% 9/10; 10-19% 8/10; 1-9% 7/10 etc. 12. Appearances in TV-series before an actor was even born! =========================================================== There are several TV-series which have been running for many years, for example "As the World Turns" started in 1956 and "The Doctors" in 1963. Several actors and actresses began their careers by appearing in series such as these, for example, Meg Ryan played Betsy Montgomery in "As the World Turns". Lists of movies (filmographies) are usually sorted into chronological order, the year used being the year that the movie was released, or in the case of long running TV-series, the year it was first broadcast. This means that you can sometimes get information indicating a particular performer appeared in a TV-series before they were even born. In our example, Meg Ryan was born in 1961, but her filmography indicates she appeared in "As the World Turns" in 1956! To reduce confusion, we normally use the character name to indicate the range of years the people appeared in the show. In our example Ryan's appearance was from 1982 to 1984 so her character name becomes "Betsy Montgomery (1982-1984)", 13. What do the (I), (II) etc. mean in some names? ================================================== There are two types of Roman numerals appearing in our names. Here's an example of the first type: Ahern II, Lloyd Lloyd Ahern II is a cinematographer that has the same name as his father Lloyd Ahern except for the "II" used to distinguish between them. The Roman numeral is directly and officially part of the name and not in any parentheses. It is used in actual credits of movies and in other information sources that have data on this man. The reason is simply to make clear that you are talking about the son and not the father. The two are likely to be mixed up since they are both cinematographers. Although someone familiar with their biographical data might conclude from the context if the father or the son was involved in a particular movie, it's nonetheless convenient to have the Roman numeral to remove ambiguity. The second type of Roman numeral appearing in names is very similar, although there is a crucial difference. Again the Roman numeral is added to distinguish between two or more different people that share a name but are not identical. But this time the number is not part of the official name of a person as used in credits or other information sources. It's a number added by IMDb and it's always within parentheses, for example: John Smith (I) The need for these numbers arose naturally as the database grew over time and more and more name clashes occurred with the consequence that credits belonging to one person were also showing up for all others with the same name. Generally, the more common a name is the more likely there will be mix-ups and the more Roman numerals have to be added. As an example look up John Taylor for which we already store 15 (!) variants not counting cases with initials. There are no strict rules as to which person gets which number although we try to give more important or famous people lower numbers (and big stars none at all for the time being) and also people that came chronologically before other people. Also, if a person has been billed with different names, one of them being more distinctive than the others (due to an added initial, for example), we tend to use the unique name that needs no Roman numeral as the primary name and add the name with the Roman numeral as an alternative name. The need for Roman numerals follows from the basic database design. The names and titles themselves are the keys into the data and must be unique, hence the need for Roman numerals. Other solutions are possible, but we feel that the current solution is the best for the time being and hope this view is also shared by our users. 14. How frequently is the database updated? =========================================== The database is updated weekly and we do our best to process all data which arrives by Thursday morning (UK time) within a matter of days such that it is included in the update early on Monday. Data is not automatically added and each section has a manager responsible for validating the information as far as possible before it is placed online. The database currently grows by a minimum of 50,000 entries per week. We'd love to see the growth rate continue to rise though so keep those additions coming fast! 15. Easier Ways to Submit New Data ================================== If you find the standard addition formats too complex there is 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 send it back to the mail-server. For information on this interface send a message with the subject: HELP UPDATE to <mail-server@imdb.com> or for receive a template for a movie directly use the subject: TEMPL TITLE <title> For example: TEMPL TITLE Vertigo (1958) TEMPL TITLE Lion King, The (1994) The "UPDATE" interface now includes support for adding to the filmography and biography sections in a similar manner. The subject to use is: TEMPL NAME <surname>, <first name> For example: TEMPL NAME Grant, Cary TEMPL NAME Davis, Geena 16. Taking Part in the Movie Ratings Poll ========================================= Everyone is encouraged to take part in the movie ratings poll (see Q 11). The WWW interface provides a simple way to vote in the report - just look up the details on any title and the voting buttons are located at the bottom of the page. You must remember to mail your votes to the ratings tabulator if you vote via this interface (the voting page has full details of what to do). Another way to vote is by replying to the weekly movie ratings ballot article posted to rec.arts.movies.lists+surveys every Friday. The WWW interface also contains a link to the weekly ballot: http://us.imdb.com/Ballot/ Finally, a selection of movie ratings ballots are now available via the movie mail-server interface. For more information send e-mail with the subject: HELP BALOT to <mail-server@imdb.com>. The poll is one of the largest on-going polls on the Internet. As of October 1997 there have been over 1,600,000 votes by 365,000 people for over 39,000 movies. 17. How to get a review included in the WWW interface ===================================================== Other than archiving reviews sent to the moderated rec.arts.movies.reviews USENET newsgroup, we don't store movie reviews in the database directly, instead they are linked via URLs from other sources on the Internet. If you do not have access to your own www page(s) to publish your reviews, then read rec.arts.movies.reviews for a week or so before posting your review there - it will then be archived in HTML format by us, usually within two weeks. 18. How to keep a local installation of the database up-to-date =============================================================== The majority of the database files are updated every Friday on the ftp sites which means keep a local installation such as the Unix or Amiga interface up-to-date involves a significant amount of network traffic. To help reduce this, weekly 'diff' files are now available in the database/diffs subdirectory on each ftp site. These enable you to download a much smaller single file with all the updates for each week. For more details on this scheme see the file database/diffs/README on all the ftp sites. 19. Problems connecting to the IMDb web site? ============================================= A small number of Windows users have reported problems accessing the IMDb web site (get a "Connected" message but the pages never appear). This is usually related to well known bug in Windows relating to the default MTU size. Other networking systems can usually adapt to MTU variations, but not Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. To fix the problem under those OS's, you have to change the MTU in the TCP/IP stack (Trumpet Winsock under Win 3.1, Dial Up Networking under Win95). To do it under Win3.1, simply go into File->Setup of your Trumpet Winsock and change the MTU setting from whatever it is (probably 1500 or 1200) to 576, then reload Winsock. Under Win95, it is MUCH more complicated. You have to go into your registry and add a setting. You can find details on how to do this at http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~llurch/win95netbugs/faq-c.html#c1 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- SECTION TWO: Specific Queries ============================= For further details on how to search the IMDb please see: http://www.imdb.com/faq-search http://www.imdb.com/tour http://www.imdb.com/introduction ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hope you find this FAQ useful. If you have a question that isn't covered please contact me via e-mail at <cn@imdb.com>. Col Needham The Internet Movie Database Ltd. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Winner of 1997 best film site Webby awards http://www.imdb.com/ 120,000+ movies 1892-1999 The site that means movies