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Movie Database: Frequently Asked Questions List


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Archive-name: movies/movie-database-faq
Posting-Frequency: weekly
Last-modified: 1997/10/09
Version: 1.65

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM