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Newsletter #7

June 3rd, 1996 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)


this issue edited by Jon Reeves


Welcome to issue 7 of the IMDb newsletter. The newsletter is intended to
keep database users and contributors informed of the latest developments
from the management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should
be directed to newsletter@imdb.com.
Issue 8 is scheduled for mid-July.


See the further information section at the end of this file for more
information about The Internet Movie Database (IMDb).



Contents


SURVEY LAUNCHED


by Col Needham


A couple of weeks ago we launched the IMDb survey in order to find out
more details about who our users are, what they use the database for and
how it could be improved. So far we’ve had several thousand replies with
hundreds more arriving every day. This article describes some of the results
we’ve uncovered. If you raised a question in one of the free-form comment
sections then you should be receiving a reply soon. We are reading each one
but it will take time to catch up.


I’ll cover the general results first:


  • 20% use the database every day; 36% weekly; 25% completed the survey
    on their first visit
  • 25% see movies on the big screen twice per month; 18% once per week
    and 18% once per month
  • 75% have been using the database for less than a year and 14 people
    said they’d been using it right from the start back in 1990
  • 36% first found the site by a search engine; 28% via link from another
    site; 5% via newsgroups (this was surprising given the amount of time I
    spend promoting the IMDb on USENET)
  • 12% have a local copy of the database installed
  • Favorite movie genres were as follows: 74% comedy; 60% drama; 59% action;
    57% science fiction
  • 76% use the Netscape Navigator browser and 5% use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer;
    66% use a PC and 14% use a Mac.
  • Yahoo! is the most used search
    engine at 31% followed
    by AltaVista at 22%
  • the age distribution took us by surprise: the most frequent answer was
    35-49 with 22%; the four ranges in 18-34 were about 12% each.
  • 70% were male



Now on to the general questions. There were some very clear trends in all
these questions and we’ll be looking at how to balance the needs expressed.


What’s the best thing about the IMDb?


Answers here nearly always boiled down to something like “free
access to a huge, cross-linked, continually updated database of movie
information, including filmographies, reviews and fun stuff like quotes
and trivia.” This was very reassuring since it’s what we’re good at!


What’s the worst thing about the IMDb?



The number one complaint centered around information missing from
the database, mainly that not all movies are covered equally, and
specifically, that there aren’t enough plot summaries and biographies. The
number two complaint is related: people generally find it hard to add
information to the database or think the turnaround on new data is much
too slow. We’ll be working to improve all these things with a better
additions and acknowledgement process, as well as looking at ways to
encourage people to improve specific areas such as the summaries.


The other major complaint was that the site wasn’t “glitzy” enough
(no frames, no large click maps, no Java and none of the other features
which other sites which lack real content use to disguise that fact). On
the other hand, this was offset by the large number of people who
were pleased with the fast loading pages, browser independence and
uncomplicated layout. No need to state our position on that one! Even
so, a few people did complain we already had too many graphics on the
pages so it shows you can’t please everyone.


Finally there were several individual complaints about specific areas
for improvement, all of which we’ll try to look at. The other common
answer was that the survey is too long!

What new things would you like to see us do?



There were many requests here for features which are already available
on the site, so we’ve concluded that we need to make people more aware
of the site index link already on every page!


The top request was for more pictures of people in the database to be
included so we’ll be investigating licensing archives and better ways
to collect links to image sites. Another very popular request was for
more direct links to video sales outfits, especially for non-mainstream
movies. We have a number of ideas in this area, but feel it is important
not to turn the database into an online product catalog.


There were lots of ideas for new ways to search or organize our existing
data and many of these will actually be implemented over the coming months
as time permits. We’re always interested in suggestions along these lines.


Do you have any general comments about The Internet Movie Database?


People mainly used this section to congratulate us on the database. We were
pleased with the overwhelming number of positive comments and specific
instances where the database has helped in some way or another.


So thanks again to everyone who has filled in the survey so far. You should
start to see some of the results via improvements to the site in the next
few months. Feel free to mail us or just complete the free form questions of
the survey if you have any further ideas (which reminds me, *I* haven’t
filled in the survey yet :-)



PLEASE UPDATE YOUR LINKS


by Rob Hartill


By the time you read this, one of the IMDb’s old mirror sites will have
closed forever. The mirror at rte66.com run by Los Angeles Webstation was
closed down some time back and has been redirecting to us.imdb.com since
then. The Los Angeles Webstation site is scheduled for complete shutdown
any day now after which there will be no automatic redirecting to the
new site. Thanks to the Webstation staff for operating a mirror for the
last year.



IMDb HELPS BOSTON GLOBE WITH RESEARCH


by Mark Harding


The Boston Globe (US) recently contacted me about an article they were
writing which proposed to determine whether movies’ running times are
generally getting longer. A premise that, in the wake of such “epics”
as Braveheart, Casino, Heat and Pulp Fiction would seem reasonable.


Always happy to help out where we can I started compiling some statistics
for the Globe from our extensive datasets. My own findings were very
interesting. Put simply, from the start of cinema in 1895 up to about 1960
there was indeed a steady increase in the average running times of
movies. However, from 1960 to present day, the change is minimal and
subject to fluctuations in both directions.


The findings were promptly passed to the Globe, who I guess didn’t find
the results to be what they expected as they never ran the article.


Oh, well :-)



ON ACCURACY


by Jon Reeves

Someone asked recently how accurate our information is. To answer that,
you need to consider the nature of “facts” and examine the sources.


To help us, we use as many sources as we can get our hands on, and we
have a large number of consistency check tools that we run on the data
(though every time we add a major one, it takes us months to clean up
the problems it uncovers, and we can’t always keep up). However, there’s
absolutely no substitute for an international team of movie buffs with an
encyclopedic knowledge of trivia and a large assortment of reference works
(I include in this group many of our loyal contributors). But where do
these people get their information?


First and foremost, there are on-screen credits. These are the best
source, and the one we prefer people to use; it’s what we rely on for
most of our information. They are usually pretty good on modern movies,
but are subject to several problems:



  • Name drift. Rita Hayworth started under her real name, Rita Cansino.
    Christopher Lambert is still billed as Christophe when he makes French
    movies. Middle initials and nicknames come and go. Names in non-Latin
    alphabets have varying transliterations.
  • Name fusion. There are two different Harrison Ford actors (I) (II). There
    are two Australian directors named George Miller (I) (II). We’ve probably
    got hundreds of uncorrected cases of this, particularly in the tech
    credits. When we spot the problem, the names are distinguished with
    roman numerals in parentheses.

  • In-jokes. J. Todd Anderson is credited with a Prince-like symbol in Fargo.
  • Unbilled performances. These can be cameos (Emma Thompson in My Father
    the Hero
    ) or major (Bill Murray in Tootsie). Similarly, writers often use
    pseudonyms (Paddy Chayefsky in Altered States) or are denied credit. Before
    Mary Pickford, no actors were billed by name; until recent SAG contracts
    requiring 50 names, only leading players were credited, often without
    character names. The best sources are, unfortunately, confidential:
    contracts, deal memos, and payroll records.
  • Misspellings. Ernie Hudson‘s character in Ghostbusters wears a patch
    over his pocket saying “Zeddemore” (which matches the published script)
    but the credits say “Zeddmore”.

  • Alternate titles — both translations and retitlings (the German film
    Der Bewegte Mann is on its third English title). There’s also times when
    two movies with the same title get released close together and their
    data gets intermingled. (The two Japan-set films released in 1989 titled
    “Black Rain”(I) (II) are confused in some sources; the Academy Awards confused
    High Society (1955) and High Society (1956) briefly).


Press kits often contain the on-screen credits — but these may be an earlier
revision than what appears on the final screen. Characters may have been
cut; songs may have been changed; in rare cases the presence
or absence of a character may be too much of a spoiler to include in the
press kit.


Then there are official bios, autobiographies, and interviews. These are
good for unraveling name fusion/drift problems, but have their own problems:


  • Resume padding. Quentin Tarantino invented some acting credits early in
    his career that still persist in some reference works.
  • Credit inflation. I’ve stopped trusting “producer” credits in bios; these
    can be just about any producer-related position, including unit production
    manager. Similarly, sound editors sometimes become sound designers.

  • Title/year mangling. Rare is the bio that doesn’t flat misspell
    some film. And the years cited, if any, are often incorrect; the
    resume of one famous writer has a film released one year, when it
    opened nationally in December of the previous year, and writers
    often list the date they wrote the book, not the date the movie was
    released. A producer once couldn’t find his own movie in the database
    because he spelled the title wrong.

  • Intentional omissions. Early films that are now embarrassments or
    considered “too minor”; films made too long ago (makes the person
    look old).


Subject-matter experts can be very helpful because they know about
most of the above problems and can clean them up; a Charlie Chan expert
spent some time cleaning up those films, for example, and we’re heavily
dependent on the net’s Hong Kong film fans. But they are fallible, too,
particularly when something crosses into their expertise from another
area (for instance, when name drift/fusion problems intersect). And
like anything, the levels of expertise and scholarship vary.


Reference works. Well, they are usually working off the same primary
sources described above, with all the attendant problems. Add to this
transcription errors. And disagreement among sources: I have 9 different
sources giving 5 different dates, spanning 11 years, for the birth date
of Ray Walston. They can’t even agree on the month or the day of the month.


Filtered contributions from our loyal readers. Subject to many of the
problems noted above, since they are often working from these sources;
in addition, there are more typos and people working with faulty memories.


Oh, and general incompleteness; we mark complete casts, but there’s
usually no way to confirm that a person’s filmography is complete.


So, the general answer: Trust nothing. Or everything. If this is
thesis-quality research, definitely use us only as a starting point;
for most casual users, though, you’ll find our data very good, though we
certainly welcome any improvements in our data.



REVIEW URL UPDATES


by Jon Reeves


One of our most frequent requests is more reviews. With that in mind,
several thousand online review links have been added to the database
over the past month, including several hundred from the
San Francisco Chronicle and
Examiner,
Eye Weekly, the
Pathfinder site
(Time,
People,
Entertainment Weekly),
USA Today, and
Mr. Showbiz.
We have been including
links to their reviews, but they had not been added to for some time. A
process is now in place to add new reviews from these sources and
others weekly.


In addition, thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times archives, over 1800 reviews
by Roger Ebert have also been linked to their titles. We hope to add
reviews from the Boston Globe shortly.


All these review links are available from the commercial reviews icon



PLOT SUMMARIES WANTED

by Col Tinto


Going by your comments in the survey, the plot summaries are very
popular, but many of you complain about the coverage.


So help us out here… I know someone reading this will have seen some
of the films listed here – why not take a few minutes to write a quick
summary of the plot, and send it in? You’ll be doing your bit to please
thousands of other IMDb users!


Listed below are the top 20 most voted for movies without summaries.


Over 450 people voted for Nine 1/2 Weeks, so someone must know what
its about…



Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986)


Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)

Night Shift (1982)

Johnny Dangerously (1984)


Battlestar Galactica (1978) (TV)

Wolf (1994)

New York Stories (1989)

Doctor Detroit (1983)

Taps (1981)

Hairspray (1988)


Force 10 from Navarone (1978)

Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987)

River Runs Through It, A (1992)

Jabberwocky (1977)

Raw Deal (1986)

Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)


Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1981)



IMDb IN THE NEWS


by Jon Reeves


Just a few of the traditional media outlets that have mentioned us lately:


Milwaukee (Wisc.) Journal Sentinel.
PBS: Life on the Internet.
Filmecho (Germany).
Boston Globe.

USA Today.
Netday (iworld.com).
AT&T’s leadstory.com.
Die Zeit (Germany).


We’ve also won the following new award. See the whole gallery here.


Webdo (Switzerland) Top 125


WEB SERVER CHANGES


by Rob Hartill


In early May we added a second machine at our US location to improve response
times. Those of you with an interest in the technical issues might be
interested to know that we’re using round robin DNS, everyone else only
needs to know that the address “us.imdb.com” points to both servers.


The two old US mirror sites rte66.com and www.msstate.edu are now redirecting
to us.imdb.com. This will not last forever, so please see the “PLEASE
UPDATE YOUR LINKS”
section to help smooth the shutdown of these old mirrors.


Our first batch of advertisers debuted recently. These include
Eachmovie – a movie recommendation service,
and movie promotions for The Phantom,
Mission Impossible and
Independence Day. We expect this will allow us to improve server
performance yet again in the near future.



DATABASE STATISTICS

by Col Needham


This is a regular section giving information about the current size
and growth of the IMDb. We receive between 20,000 and 35,000 additions
every week from users all over the world.


Number of filmography entries: 1,021,550
Number of people covered: 294,903
Number of movies covered: 74,632

Size of the database (Mb): 84


Recent milestones:


  • Over 20,000 sound mix entries.

  • Over 50,000 country entries.
  • Over 70,000 director entries.

  • Over 100,000 miscellaneous filmography entries.

  • Over 200,000 actress entries.

  • Over 1,000,000 filmography entries.


Note: the “Number of people covered” statistic was calculated incorrectly in
previous issues, so the number above is not directly comparable.



FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS



This is a regular section listing some enhancements we’re currently
looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take quite
a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialize because the
original volunteer decides not to proceed.


  • full support for accented characters (ISO 8859-1) without losing
    people that can’t type them. Implementation in progress.
  • a list giving the language(s) of the original release.
  • proper handling of writer credit order.
  • a Windows interface in now in final beta test after recent work
    to improve performance and make it work on multiple Windows
    platforms (95, 3.1, NT).
  • enhanced awards section for the database covering more
    international festivals, national film institutes etc.
  • general support for alternate titles in languages other than
    English and the language of the original country.
  • a movie recommendation service that will use your vote records to
    suggest other movies you might enjoy. Time to check you’re up-to-date
    with your voting!




Academy Awards and Oscar are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences.

Newsletter #6

April 30th, 1996 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)




this issue edited by Jon Reeves


Welcome to issue 6 of the IMDb newsletter. The newsletter is intended to
keep database users and contributors informed of the latest developments
from the management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should
be directed to newsletter@imdb.com.


It looks like the schedule for the newsletter will be about every six
weeks. Expect future issues to be somewhat larger than this one.


See the further information section at the end of this file for more
information about The Internet Movie Database (IMDb).



Contents


IMDb DOES OSCAR


by Jon Reeves


Like everyone else, we covered the Oscars in real time; we had several
winners updated before they began their speech, including the by-category
pages. The main sites at us.imdb.com and uk.imdb.com were set up as
mirrors, giving users a choice if one was overloaded. And our pages
remained intentionally low on graphics to keep the reload times fast;
some users told us that this made us faster than the “official” site.


Of course, all names and titles were linked to their full database
entry, and we have a complete list of Oscar winners, giving you a
depth of coverage you couldn’t find anywhere else.



REACTION TO STATUS CHANGE


by Col Needham


This is just really a quick thank you note to everyone who supported
us during the recent changes at the IMDb. The reaction to the change
was overwhelmingly positive and in fact we received only four negative
messages. The data addition rate is also holding up well and last
Friday we received a record 44,000 entries for the week.


As you’ve no doubt already seen, the web interface continues to improve
with new features and an even faster search engine. Once again all only
possible because we have direct access to and own the servers.


Watch out for further improvements over the next few months.



PLOT SUMMARIES WANTED

by Colin Tinto


The plot summary list is creeping along at ~150 new summaries a week,
but I want more!


Listed below are some of the more popular and best (high votes) movies
in the database that still don’t have plot summaries.


No prizes for guessing which block got the most votes, and which got
the highest. Highlander 2 gives it away…



Due South (1994) (TV)

Enfants du paradis, Les (1945)


Scrooge (1951)

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Arizona Dream (1993)

When Night is Falling (1995)

Toto le Heros (1991)

Last Waltz, The (1978)


Funny Bones (1995)

Brief Encounter (1945)



Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986)

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)

Little Women (1994)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)


Night Shift (1982)

Johnny Dangerously (1984)

Battlestar Galactica (1978) (TV)

Wolf (1994)

Erik the Viking (1989)

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)



PRIVACY POLICY


by Jon Reeves


If you submit a plot or a biography, you can leave off your E-mail
address and we won’t give it out; we’d like you to at least include
your name, but you can be “Anonymous” if you want. If “Anonymous”
is good enough for the best-seller list, it’s good enough for us.


From time to time, we get E-mail from people listed in the database or
their agents or relatives. All E-mail addresses, and even the names
of the people we correspond with, are strictly confidential (unless
there’s an explicit request otherwise).


Finally, we promise never to give your name or E-mail address to an
advertiser unless you explicitly request it.


IMDb IN THE NEWS


by Jon Reeves


Just a few of the traditional media outlets that have mentioned us lately:


The New York Times.
CNN.
Il Giornale (Italy).
TIP Magazine (Berlin).
The Wall Street Journal.

PC Week.
Premiere Magazine (France).
News from Brazil (Brazil/US).


We’ve also won several new awards. See the whole gallery here.


YELL for the UK Best (nomination).
Project Cool sighting for March 30.

Warren’s Weekly Worthy Sites, week of March 31.
MicroSoft Network weekly pick.
c|net’s search.com top pick.



WEB SERVER CHANGES


by Rob Hartill

As part of the IMDb’s recent move to a professional status, two new
www servers were introduced (us.imdb.com and uk.imdb.com).


Since September 1993, the primary www site had been at the University of
Wales College Cardiff’s Computer Science Department, and for most of that
time the IMDb had been consuming all available bandwidth and CPU time on
the departmental web server. Being the first, Cardiff proved very popular;
over the years, well over 50 million requests were made to the site
and in excess of 30,000 links made by users and other service providers.


Shortly after the IMDb switched on its two new servers, the Cardiff mirror
began a shutdown procedure. Owners of many of the most followed links
from outside the IMDb were contacted in order to get links updated. With
the reduced load, the Cardiff server is now responsive enough to once
again be used by the Computer Science department for local services.


In the coming months, the IMDb plans to invest advertising revenue to
fund more mirror sites to replace the mirror sites at Mississippi State
University (www.msstate.edu), LEO (www.leo.org) in Munich, Germany and
the Australian mirror (ballet.cit.gu.edu.au) at Griffith University,
Brisbane. These sites are unable to continue mirroring the IMDb because
of their University status. The three sites will be phased out gradually.

Within a week of announcing our new sites, they were receiving over
a quarter of a million requests daily. The popularity of the IMDb in
the USA suggests that we can easily treble our US hardware capacity
and fill it quickly.



DATABASE STATISTICS


by Col Needham


This is a regular section giving information about the current size
and growth of the IMDb. We receive between 20,000 and 35,000 additions
every week from users all over the world.


Number of filmography entries: 962,248
Number of people covered: 309,805
Number of movies covered: 68,522

Size of the database (Mb): 79


Recent milestones:


  • Over 10,000 costume designer entries.

  • Over 10,000 production designer entries.

  • Over 14,000 movies now have complete cast lists.

  • Over 20,000 editor entries.

  • Genre entries for over 30,000 movies.


FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS



This is a regular section listing some enhancements we’re currently
looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take quite
a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialize because the
original volunteer decides not to proceed.


  • full support for accented characters (ISO 8859-1) without losing
    people that can’t type them. Implementation in progress.
  • a list giving the language(s) of the original release.
  • a locally installable MS-Windows interface to the database is
    under final testing for those of you who want to reduce your
    phone bills!
  • enhanced awards section for the database covering more
    international festivals, national film institutes etc.
  • general support for alternate titles in languages other than
    English and the language of the original country.
  • a movie recommendation service that will use your vote records to
    suggest other movies you might enjoy. Initially available via an
    E-mail interface. Time to check you’re up-to-date with your voting!




Academy Awards and Oscar are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences.

Newsletter #5

March 30th, 1996 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)

this issue edited by Jon Reeves

Welcome to issue 5 of the IMDb newsletter. The newsletter is intended to
keep database users and contributors informed of the latest developments
from the management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should
be directed to newsletter@imdb.com.

Sorry for the delay in producing this issue. As you’ll see below,
we’ve been very busy these last few months. The newsletter will be on
a regular monthly schedule in the future.

See the further information section at the end of this file for more
information about The Internet Movie Database (IMDb).


Contents


IMDb GOES PROFESSIONAL

by Col Needham

The main purpose of this newsletter is to announce an important change in
the way The Internet Movie Database is organized and run. As you know,
in its five-and-a-half year history, the IMDb has grown from a loosely
coupled informal project to a highly respected Internet resource that
rivals the best professional sites of any class on the web.

The success of the database has led to an ever increasing workload for
the all volunteer team who give up countless hours of their spare time on
a daily basis to keep it going. The appearance of several other movie
databases backed by commercial operations forced us to consider whether our
volunteer project could compete with the resources at their disposal.

The IMDb team and IMDb-donated hardware were both at their limits and
something had to be done to ease the situation. After several months of
debate, we decided the best solution to ensure the long term security of
the IMDb was to turn the operation into a professional venture. The team
has therefore created a company, The Internet Movie Database Ltd., to
ensure the future of the database that they and all the contributors have
worked so hard to build over the years.

The IMDb will be supported by sponsorship of various kinds; the resources
will be used to create massive improvements in the services and features
offered by the database. At the same time, the team remains committed to
our mission of providing freely accessible, up-to-date movie information
across as many systems and platforms as possible. In short, we hope
to offer a much better service than we could have ever provided under
the old system.

Please see the rest of this newsletter for more information on the changes.

Anticipating that this change in status will raise many questions, the team
has prepared an FAQ that we’d like to invite you to read.

Please contact us if you require further information.


NEW DOMAIN (imdb.com)

by Jon Reeves

With the change to professional status, we are rationalizing the naming
of server machines. Instead of a scattered assortment of addresses,
all machines will be part of the imdb.com domain. The existing
servers at www.msstate.edu, www.leo.org, and www.cs.cf.ac.uk will be
phased out slowly over the next few months; the most recent data and
latest new features will be found on the imdb.com machines. You should
change any links as soon as possible.

We are still looking into the best way to serve our Australian users;
for now, the existing mirror at ballet.cit.gu.edu.au will continue to work.

The domain imdb.org was used for a short time in the transition process.

We are also available at moviedatabase.com, which is easier to remember
but harder to type. This domain is fully equivalent to imdb.com.

The easiest access point to remember is: http://www.moviedatabase.com ; this
site points to the appropriate local sites to use.


NEW SERVERS (us.imdb.com, uk.imdb.com)

by Jon Reeves

Our first new server, us.imdb.com, was set up in just four days
to accommodate the traffic from PEOPLE Online’s Oscarama site.
The machine is a Pentium 166 with a T3 (high bandwidth) connection to
the net, courtesy of the World File Project at Exec-PC in Wisconsin, USA.
It went online March 3.

At the same time, the server code backend was completely rewritten for
more efficient database lookups. The combination of a fast machine, new
fast code, and a fast network connection has greatly improved response
time over our previous machines. The new code also lets us provide
dynamic backlinks to a referring site, like the PEOPLE Oscarama site.

After just a couple weeks, the new machine is already handling over
100,000 hits a day, and it can easily handle many more.

In addition, the machine uk.imdb.com has also been put in place to handle
European traffic.

These machines would have been necessary in any case, since the servers at
Mississippi and Cardiff have become overloaded; we took the opportunity to
improve service to everyone. The code rewrite was only possible because of
the extra disk space available at our private server machines.


FTP SITE CHANGES

by Jon Reeves

Coincidentally, shortly before we went professional, our long time
primary FTP site, ftp.cathouse.org, announced that it would be going
offline. Fortunately, we had a few weeks to find an alternate site. Our
main USA FTP site is now ftp://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/pub/info/imdb

Remember that, even though the database has gone professional, we are
committed to keeping our data freely accessible for noncommercial use,
just as before.


NEW LIST MANAGER ADDRESSES

by Jon Reeves and Mark Harding

Many list managers have new mailing addresses since the last newsletter.
Rather than track their “real” addresses, all list managers can (and
should) now be reached at imdb.com (or, if you prefer, moviedatabase.com)
addresses.

If you are looking for the manager of a particular list, the address
is generally
; for example, actors@imdb.com.
The list-based addresses are: actors, actresses, aka-names, aka-titles,
business, biographies, certificates, cinematographers, color, composers,
costumes, countries, crazy-credits, directors, editors, genres, goofs,
languages, laserdiscs, literature, locations, miscellaneous, movie-links,
original-titles, plots, producers, prod-companies, prod-designers,
quotes, release-dates, running-times, sound-mix, soundtracks, tag-lines,
technical, trivia, versions, writers.

Software developers can now be reached using their specific platform:
www, unix, msdos, amiga, windows; to reach all of them, or to comment
on the E-mail server software, use software@imdb.com.

The IMDb “help desk” can be reached at help@imdb.com if you’re not
sure where to turn or you’re having trouble using the database. If
you want basic information, mail to info@imdb.com will return an
automated response.

Our mail server addresses, as before, are movie, add, and correct;
the vote server is at votes. All these addresses, again, are now @imdb.com.

If you need to discuss business matters, the addresses to use are
sales@imdb.com and licensing@imdb.com; the Board of Directors is at
bods@imdb.com.

Finally, if you just want to tell us that we’re doing a good job,
the address is feedback@imdb.com.


NEW ACADEMY AWARD PAGES

by Jon Reeves

The Academy Award pages are now fully comprehensive, including all awards
for all years. In addition, the pages are now pre-built instead of being
generated from the database, which avoids the former problems with movies
showing up in the wrong years (particularly for foreign language films).
Of course, all names and titles are linked to the appropriate entry in
the database (though initially some of these might not work while we
refine the database). There are several other interesting links on the
pages, and the pages will continue to be refined right up through the
awards presentations. We think you’ll find the new pages to be the most
comprehensive and useful Oscar resource on the Web.


PEOPLE MAGAZINE OSCARAMA SITE

by Jon Reeves

PEOPLE Online was developing a major Oscar site and wanted extensive
background data on the nominees. Where better to look than their
web site of the year — IMDb? When PEOPLE contacted us, we agreed
because of the great exposure it would give us, but we knew we had much
work to do. The current servers were already overloaded and the Oscar
data had a number of flaws (it was probably good enough for most people,
but it didn’t meet our high standards).

In under two weeks, we upgraded our own Oscar coverage extensively,
provided all the relevant data to PEOPLE, installed a new server,
and reworked the database code — all while we were busy creating the
new company.


OTHER WEB SITE IMPROVEMENTS

by Jon Reeves

In response to user requests, a page has now been added linking to theatre
showtime sites (you can find this under the URLs menu item).

Most of the addition guides were very outdated; they have been rewritten
(just pick Guides off the menu bar).

The recent releases are now sorted
by release date.

The menu bars have been changed slightly; there’s now a full index of
available features.


QUIZ RESULTS

by Michel Hafner

To celebrate five years of IMDb last October, there was a quiz presented
to the public via the WWW and ftp interfaces. It contained a total
of 126 questions about 6 different subjects and used 88 images for
illustration. The quiz was demanding. Very few people “dared” to mail
in their solutions. And only one person performed decently enough to
win a prize: Ed Broom!

Congratulations to Ed! He’s now enjoying six new soundtrack CDs he picked
from a large list.

The solutions to the quiz can be found here.


NEW BIOGRAPHY TAGS ADDED

by Mark Harding

Two new biographical tags are now supported by the IMDb interfaces.
They record details of articles (AT:) or interviews (IT:) found,
primarily, in magazines, but other publications are acceptable too.

The format for both tags is the same:

    IT: * "pub" (cntry), year, Vol. vol, Iss. iss, pg. pgs, auth
 

    AT: * "pub" (cntry), year, Vol. vol, Iss. iss, pg. pgs, auth

Where:

       pub - title of the publication.

     cntry - country where published.

      year - year of publication.

       vol - volume number, if known.

       iss - issue number, if known.

       pgs - pages where the piece is found.

      auth - author of the piece.
 

Examples:

    NM: Kelly, Gene

    AT: * "Sight and Sound" (UK), 1996, Vol. 6, Iss. 3, pg. 3, Peter Wollen
 

    NM: Fincher, David

    IT: * "Empire" (UK), 1996, Iss. 80, pg. 80-87, Mark Salisbury

The new tags are supported in the Web server additions interface
and the TEMPL NAME templates.


COMPOSER CREDIT POLICY CHANGED

by Michel Hafner

In the past there was no clear distinction between composers that
composed original music for a movie and composers whose music, created
for other occasions, was simply used in a movie. Both types appeared
in the interface of the data base as “music by.” This will change soon
so that there can be no doubt who was credited for original music and
who was only part of the soundtrack credits at the end of a movie. This
information was not absent until now, but it had to be deduced from the
fact that the named composer had been dead while the movie was made,
or that the composition was cited from which the music had been taken.


CONVERSION TO ISO CHARACTERS COMING

by Michel Hafner

The IMDb is an international film data base. Since its main focus has
been on movies from the English speaking countries, the character set used
so far was 7-bit ASCII; this is fine for English, but not for most of the
other European languages and the rest of the world. To properly display
French, German, Spanish and all other titles that don’t use special
character sets (as original Japanese and Chinese titles, for example)
IMDb will soon support the ISO-LATIN-1 character set on its WWW and
mail server interfaces. Users will be able to access and view movie
data using this character set and mail in new data for use with this
character set. In addition, alternate titles from all countries with
languages using this character set will be accepted and made available
on the interfaces for language specific queries.


IMDb GOES TO THE MOVIES

by Jon Reeves

Or, more specifically, to the London and Stuttgart Film Festivals.
Members of the IMDb team attended both festivals to demonstrate and
describe the database. In both cases, people who saw the database
were impressed by its coverage; the audience at Stuttgart kept the
demonstration going for two hours. Even our team members were amazed
by the database; as one put it, “you suddenly discover that someone is
mad-keen on Cuban movies and has been submitting info on them for years.”


IMDb IN THE NEWS

by Jon Reeves

Just a few of the (paper) publications that have reviewed us lately:

.net (UK), every issue. Sight and Sound (UK), December &
January. Courier Mail (Brisbane Australia), December. LA Times
(USA), December. Sunday Times (London), Jan 7: one of 18 sites
recommended. Premiere (US), January. The Web (UK), January.
Prinz (Germany), January. Toronto Computes! (Canada), January.
KSU Collegian (USA), February. Database (US) February/March.
Iway (USA) Iway 500 issue.

The review in “Database” was particularly detailed; the IMDb part of it
was about 1-1/2 pages (we rated “two thumbs up,” the highest rating).
You can read the biggest, sloppiest wet kisses from these articles on
the quotes page.

We’ve also won several new awards. See the whole gallery.

PEOPLE Magazine: Best Multimedia site of the year. Home Boys
Links I Like Hall of Fame. GNN Best of the Net runner-up.
Clearinghouse Approved. Webbie. McKinley Four-Star rating
(for 5 different pages). Twoey’s. Best of the Planet (2ask.com).


WHAT MAKES IMDb SPECIAL?

by Jon Reeves

The question sometimes comes up, “what makes the Internet Movie Database
special?” The first answer, of course, is our loyal users; without the
extensive feedback and additions from all of you, we couldn’t be as good
as we are.

But besides that, there are many features unique to IMDb. First, we cover
all of cinema: not just the US, but the whole world. Thus, if you look up
an Italian director, you won’t just find his movies released in the
US; you’ll often find most of his Italian movies, too. We cover the
silent era as well as the sound era. We cover experimental films,
shorts, and documentaries. We cover made for TV movies and TV series.
We cover films still in production. Our coverage in some of these areas
is less extensive than our primary focus, theatrical movies, but the
combination of all these areas gives you a much more powerful database.

We also include thousands of links to other film resources on the web:
reviews; stills; movie clips; sound bites; other web sites, both fan
and professional — you name it, if it’s related to movies and on the web,
chances are we link to it.

We update the database weekly with information on new releases, movies
in production, and additional information on classic movies.

Our data and access tools are freely available at several FTP sites for
noncommercial use; this has allowed people to create some fun ad-hoc
services, like the “Baconizer” programs.

Finally, we have several fun sections: our trivia, goofs, quotes, and
crazy credit sections all keep the database from just being a listing of
facts. No wonder people have told us they’ve missed appointments because
they were looking at the database.


DATABASE STATISTICS

by Col Needham

This is a regular section giving information about the current size
and growth of the IMDb. We receive between 20,000 and 35,000 additions
every week from users all over the world.

   Number of filmography entries:   926,597

   Number of people covered:        300,776

   Number of movies covered:         65,733
 

   Size of the database (Mb):            74

Recent milestones:

  • The writers list passed the 50,000 entry mark.
  • The soundtrack list now covers over 2000 movies.
  • There are now more than 10,000 certificates (ratings).
  • The actors list crossed the 400,000 entry mark.
  • Over 11,000 movies have plot summaries.
  • Over 1000 movies have quotes.

1995 ADDITIONS SUMMARY

by Jon Reeves and Col Needham

Well, the totals are in for 1995, and it’s been an amazingly busy year.
The team members processed an average of 22,000 lines of additions and
corrections each week. Those additions came from 6650 different people;
the most active contributor, outside of team members, submitted almost
74,000 lines. Only about 13% of the additions came from team members;
as you can see, we couldn’t do it without all of you helping! Thanks!

Incidentally, so far this year, additions are running well above last
year’s average.


FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

This is a regular section listing some enhancements we’re currently
looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take quite
a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialize because the
original volunteer decides not to proceed.

  • a new business information section for the database to store
    distributors and rights holders contact details, box office
    grosses and other information concerned with the business side
    of the industry.
  • a list giving the language(s) of the original release.
  • a locally installable MS-Windows interface to the database is
    under final testing for those of you who want to reduce your
    phone bills!
  • enhanced awards section for the database covering more
    international festivals, national film institutes etc.
  • general support for alternate titles in languages other than
    English and the language of the original country.
  • a movie recommendation service that will use your vote records to
    suggest other movies you might enjoy. Initially available via an
    E-mail interface. Time to check you’re up-to-date with your voting!

Academy Awards and Oscar are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences.

Newsletter Special: Redesign

November 1st, 1995 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)

edited by Col Needham
Welcome to the new style web interface to The Internet Movie Database. We’ve aimed to strike a balance between providing many new features and layouts whilst retaing a familiar IMDB feel. All our pages remain compatible with all
standard HTML browsers for maximum audience coverage.
This is a quick introduction to some of the new features available. Many others are planned for the near future so keep watching the site.

  • Many thanks to Mike ‘Harlock’ Massee for the new icons which are visible throughout the site. Mike’s home page is  http://www.raindrop.com/ where you can see other examples of his work and find details of his consultancy rates.
  • Two new sections have been added to the database – the laserdisc section managed by Peter Simeon and an alternative versions section managed by Giancarlo Cairella. Not only can you now find the differences between various versions of the same movie, but you can also see if those versions are on LD too!
  • A much requested combined search is now available as the 4th option on the main search page. Here you can combine genre, location, year, production company, sound mix, color info, country, ratings certificate and out of ten score searches in all permutations.
  • The biographies section can now be searched via option 8 on the main search page to locate anything from places of birth to causes of death.
  • The range of dates covered by the recent releases page (option 1 of the additional information sources on the search page) has been extended hence the page is now an ideal central source to help you decide which movie to see at the local cinema. The information is arranged on a country bycountry basis and the links provide a convenient way to access cast/crew/reviews/official sites for the latest movies.In addition the team have done extra research to pull in more information on the latest movies. We aim to keep this up on a regular basis to make the IMDB the only independent source of complete movie information on the newest
    releases.
  • There are now three ways to search for titles in the database – an exact match, substring match and regular expression match. In particular the exact match is now much more tolerant of minor differences (The/A/An/etc
    missing) and also searches the alternative titles section too.
  • The exact name search is also much more tolerant – providing the surname is only the last word of a name, names can be entered either in our traditional form:Hitchcock, Alfredor in the natural order:

    Alfred Hitchcock

    Lisa Jane Persky

    but watch out for:

    Robert De Niro

    which still needs to be entered as:

    De Niro, Robert

  • Most of the page layouts have been redesigned to look better:
  • all dates in the database have been linked to the corresponding “on this day in movie history” page so you can see what else was happening. The “on this day” page also lists anniversaries of movie releases from around
  • the world the statistics page has more detailed information
  • notable guest appearances in TV-series as stored in the biographies section are now displayed on the corresponding pages for the TV-series. For an example of this running wild, see: “Seinfeld” (1990)

That covers the major points. If there’s anything you’d like to see added,
please see the feedback page.
Finally, a huge vote of thanks to Rob Hartill who managed to rewrite the whole interface from scratch in under two months!
Col Needham on behalf of The Internet Movie Database Team

Newsletter #3

October 30th, 1995 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)


edited by Col Needham



Welcome to issue 3 of the IMDB newsletter. The newsletter is intended to
keep database users and contributors informed of the latest developments
from the management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should
be directed to me at the address above.


Sorry for the delay in producing this issue. Just keeping the database
up to date continues to consumer more and more of our spare time.


See the further information section at the end of this file for more
information about The Internet Movie Database (IMDB).



Contents


DATABASE STATISTICS


This is a regular section giving information about the current size and
growth of the IMDB. We receive between 15,000 and 30,000 additions
every week from users all over the world.


Number of filmography entries: 755,844
Number of people covered: 243,615
Number of movies covered: 54,748

Size of the database (Mb): 62

Recent milestones:



  • technical section boosted to over 40,000 entries
  • actresses section passed 150,000 entries

  • over 11,000 movies now have known complete cast listings

  • 4,566 laser discs covered


NEW TITLE POLICY

by Michel Hafner


Effective immediately there is a new title policy in the database.
There are changes in two areas: primary title selection and
capitalization.


Primary title selection: From now on the primary title of a movie is
its original title in its country of origin. Other titles used before
(eg the English title) become alternative titles. The majority of
titles have already been swapped, however, if you notice any that still
need to be done, they can be mailed in with the keyword AKA. I will
catch the conflict and resolve it.


Capitalization: From now on we distinguish three types of
capitalization for movie titles:


  1. All capital letters at the start of words, with a few exceptions:
    English
  2. All lower-case letters at the start of words, except first word
    and article at the end, plus some exceptions (names etc.): French,
    Italian, Spanish, Scandinavian languages
  3. Mixed: German


If you have information about other languages (e.g. what type of
capitalization is the norm in the context of movie titles in reference
data bases, let me know. New movies are
capitalized like that starting now. The titles already in the data base
will be adapted if necessary in the following months


All contributors are herewith invited to take note of the new rules and
mail in their data accordingly. Thank you!



INTRODUCING THE LASERDISC LIST

by Peter W. Simeon


The long awaited laserdisc list is now ready for distribution. All
access methods to the database are currently being updated, so it may
take a few weeks, before you can access the laserdisc.list in the same
way as you access the other lists. If you are interested in having the
list now, you can just download it from the ftp sites and browse it
with your favourite text editor.


The mail-server can accept submissions made with the keyword interface.
A new LaserDisc template interface, which only deals with LaserDiscs,
is under construction and will be available in the future.


If you have an Amiga, you can download the original database file for
Datamat. (Datamat was sold in USA by Abacus under the name Data
Retrieve). The file is called LaserDiscs.lha in the /amiga directory.


The LaserDisc list is basically a stand alone database, which is
included into the movie database. It contains information about all
kinds of LaserDiscs (e.g. Movies, Music Videos, Documentaries, TV
Specials etc.). For each LaserDisc there are 33 attributes, which cover
every possible detail about a title. Links from and two movies will be
provied by the different access software packages.


The long term goal is to have a list with every LaserDisc which was
ever released. We want to include also all information about out of
print titles. Of course, this list will never be complete, but we can
try to collect as much data as possible. If every LaserDisc user sends
in the titles he/she owns, we will have many titles covered in a short
time. To save time while submitting data, please check if the titles
you own are already in the list and only submit new titles. You are
however encouraged to send comments about the quality and corrections
of existing titles. As soon as the LaserDisc template interface is
online, you can send a list of titles to the mail server and get back
all existing information about the LaserDiscs in your collection. Until
today I have collected data of 4566 titles.


IMPORTANT NOTE on international characters: Starting with this list we
support international characters with the ISO Latin 1 character set. If
you do not want or are not capable of using ISO Latin 1 characters, you
can process the laserdisc.list with the tool “stripiso”, which can be
downloaded from any movie database site. This tools will replace all
ISO characters in this file with ASCII characters. Many Unix platforms,
MS Windows and the Amiga support ISO Latin 1 fully by default.



INTRODUCING THE ALTERNATE VERSIONS LIST

by Giancarlo Cairella


The “Alternate Versions” list includes information about director’s
cuts, special editions, restored versions, censorship changes and
deletions, unauthorized/unofficial cuts, television versions.


Contracts under the terms of the Hollywood Director’s Guild allow about
six weeks for a director to assemble a cut without studio interference.
This is fully edited and has a synchronized sound track; however, it is
usually not color-corrected nor density-corrected and may not have the
final music and effects track. In more recent times, due to an
expanding video aftermarket, the term director’s cut has acquired a
popular meaning that implies a finished final print, officially
prepared by the director or with his consent, and usually including
scenes not included in the original theatrical release. Many director’s
cuts/special editions are re-released in theathers or on video.
Examples: Blade Runner, Aliens, Close Encounters of the Third
Kind
. Classic movies are sometimes re-released (usually many years
after their original premiere) with never before seen or long-lost
restored scenes. Examples: Spartacus, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wild
Bunch
.


Censorship laws often impose changes or deletions before a film can be
given a certificate and released. In the U.S.A movies are often cut
after being submitted to the MPAA in order to avoid a X or NC-17
rating; sometimes the deleted scenes are restored for the video or
laserdisc release, or are left intact in the European release. Other
countries have different censorship standards: U.K. releases routinely
cut any scene that suggests violence or mishandling of animals (ex. the
mouse sequence in The Abyss).


Sometimes a movie is cut or otherwise modified from the original
version without the consent or the knowledge of the filmmakers. A
frequent occurrence is when a foreign distributor decides to remove
scenes to reduce the film’s running time in order to get more showings
per day or to make it more appealing to the local audience, often by
including a different music score.


Finally films, especially R-rated ones, are routinely cut or altered
before they can be shown on network television or airline planes to
delete objectionable language and frames or to fit a two-hour time
slot. These changes are routine, don’t necessarily represent alternate
versions and will not be considered for inclusion in the list, unless
very extensive. However, TV versions which add new footage (ex.
1941), significantly re-edit or change existing material or
substitute new scenes (ex. Basic Instinct) in place of deleted
sequences will be listed.



INTRODUCING THE MPAA RATINGS REASONS LIST

by Mark Harding


Earlier this year Paul Egge from the MPAA contacted us and offerred
to supply up-to-date information from CARA, the ratings body for
the US. We accepted his offer :-)


Each week CARA meet to discuss the latest film releases and rate
them for US audiences. The ratings, along with a brief reason for
the rating are packaged and sent to us for processing.


We currently carry information on all movies released in the US
from the start of 1995 and are hoping to expand our coverage
farther back at a later date.


Check out the MPAA’s own web site.



NEW WWW FEATURES

by Col Needham


Rob has been busy with a complete rewrite of the web interface recently
so the only major enhancement to report in this issue is the addition
of a new/upcoming releases page. The page is automatically generated
from the release dates section of the database is broken out on a
country by country basis, providing a convenient place to locate
information on the latest movies in your local theatres. It’s available
as an option on the main search, or directly.


The web interface will be relaunched with many improvements and new
features in the near future.



NEW GOOF CATEGORY

by Murray Chapman


Suggested by Mark Brader, the Goofs list will now support an additional
category for explaining scenes which are generally (and incorrectly)
assumed to contain goofs.


Some of the fiercest debate over movie goofs centres on these kinds of
situations: the “ghost” in 3 Men and a Baby (1987), the color of
Thornhill’s suit in North by Northwest (1959), and the authority of
Charles De Gaulle in Casablanca (1942) are all generally considered
to be goofs, but careful consideration and/or investigation proves
otherwise!


In an attempt to dispell these misconceptions, the goofs list will now
support a category specifically for these situations. Labeled with the
tag “FAIR”, explanations will be offered as to why the filmmaker’s use
of these facts/situation is allowable and not to be considered an
error.


Contributions guides are available by
mailing a subject HELP ADD FULL to the mailserver.



FIDO/MAUSNET ACCESS

by Bernd Backhaus


The Internet Movie Database files are now available for request or
download in the following mailboxes in Germany. We’re trying to keep
them in sync but remember that both Fido and Mausnet are hobby networks
which are not designed to transport huge amounts of data on a regular
basis. Therefore, the main list files will only be updated every couple
of weeks, while the diffs will be uploaded as soon as I get them, which
usually means a delay of 1-2 days from the Friday FTP release. Also to
conform to the naming conventions of the FAT file system, I had to
rename the files. Please retrieve the file list of the respective
mailbox for further information. As a general rule for the diffs, a
diff file like diffs-yymmdd.tar.gz transforms to dyymmdd.tgz where the
first d represents diffs followed by the date.


One problem currently unsolved is a way to patch the diffs into the
lists under MS-DOS. Every port of patch I tried failes on some of the
lists, so if anybody knows of a working port that doesn’t choke, please
email me.


The files are open to download for everyone, but please respect the
time limitations as mentioned below.


Kittis Box, located in Bochum (this is a Fido style mailbox so you need
either a terminal to connect or a Fido mailer to request):


RequestTime : 8.30-0.55Uhr
Limits : max. 60 minutes / 2400bps or above
Line I : Telelink IMS08 V32Terbo ( up to 19200bps )
2:2448/53 0234/682887
Line II (MO): ZyXEL E+ ZYX 19.2k ( up to 19200bps )
2:2448/5000 0234/64963 13:490/2
Magics : FILES – file list


Line 1 is currently tested with a V34 modem which will replace the
Telelink soon.


Maus Osnabrueck (Germany), member of MausNet:


Number: 0541/597571, Modem: 1200 – 19200 Baud (V.32bis, V.42bis, TurboPEP)

Number: 0541/959941, Modem: ISDN (X.75)

available to all levels starting with guest, except 19:00 to 22:00 local time

Gruppenprogrammteil: MovieDataBase



MORE PLOT SUMMARY HELP REQUIRED

by Colin Tinto


As ever, the summary list continues to grow, cruising past the 8000
mark, not even stopping for coffee and donuts.


But we still need your help… So, my choice of the plotless movies
this time are:



Babylon 5 (1993) (TV)

Belle Epoque (1992)


Better Tomorrow, A (1986)

Boys on the Side (1995)

Cape Fear (1962)

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

Death of a Salesman (1985) (TV)

Declin de l’Empire Americain, Le (1986)


Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1939)

Joy Luck Club, The (1993)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Mortal Kombat (1995)

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Orlando (1993)


Retour de Martin Guerre, Le (1982)

Running on Empty (1988)

Shirley Valentine (1989)

Thin Blue Line, The (1988)

Toto le Heros (1991)

Truly Madly Deeply (1991)



BOOST FOR EXTERNAL LINKS

by Murray Chapman


The IMDB WWW interface has long supported links to other WWW sites that
contain information about specific movies or movie-industry people. A
recent search of the WWW has uncovered a large number of sites which
the IMDB does not provide links to. There are 131 new “person” links,
and 404 new “title” links that will be appearing soon on the IMDB WWW
interfaces.



FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS


This is a regular section listing some of the enhancements we’re
currently looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take
quite a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialise because
the original volunteer decides not to proceed.


  • a new business information section for the database to store
    distributors and rights holders contact details, box office
    grosses and other information concerned with the business side
    of the industry.
  • a locally installable MS-Windows interface to the database is
    under final testing for those of you who want to reduce your
    phonebills!
  • new “professional” looking icons under construction for the WWW
    interface.
  • enhanced awards section for the database covering more
    international festivals, national film institutes etc.
  • general support for alternative titles in languages other than
    English and the language of the original country.
  • a movie recommendation service which will use your vote records to
    suggest other movies you might enjoy. Intially available via an
    e-mail interface. Time to check you’re up-to-date with your voting!

Newsletter #2

August 3rd, 1995 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)

Edited by Col Needham


Welcome to issue 2 of the IMDB newsletter. The newsletter is intended to
keep database users and contributors informed of the latest developments
from the management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should
be directed to me at the address above.


See the further information section at the end of this file for more
information about The Internet Movie Database (IMDB).


Thanks to everyone who helped with the request in the last issue to
research missing directors – we’re now down to 2,497 out of 50,000
movies. Let me know if you’d like to help with the remaining titles.


Contents


DATABASE STATISTICS


This is a regular section giving information about the current size and
growth of the IMDB. We receive between 15,000 and 30,000 additions
every week from users all over the world.


Number of filmography entries: 665,811
Number of people covered: 216,641
Number of movies covered: 50,606

Size of the database (Mb): 49


MOVIE DATABASE TOUR ADDED TO WWW INTERFACE

by Rob Hartill


In mid July, the www interface to the IMDB reached the grand old age of
2, and to celebrate, err, it just continued with business as usual. The
main server at Cardiff (UK), has served close to 30 million request
(most, but not all for the movie database) in that time.


A lot has changed in 2 years, and I’m sure a few of the people who have
been using the www interface since the early days have missed a few of
the changes and enhancements, both to the www interface and the database
content. An overview of what’s available via the www interface is now
available via the ‘Tour’… a page with lots of links to examples of all
the different types of information. This is primarily aimed at new users,
but it’s worth a look if you haven’t seen
it.


NEW WWW MIRROR SITE

by Col Needham


A new WWW mirror in the USA has recently gone live at:


http://rte66.com/Movies/


they are waiting for a change in IP address to propagate out so if the
above doesn’t work, please try:


http://198.147.111.29/Movies


The mirror is part of The Los Angeles Webstation, a local information
service for the Greater Los Angeles area, including a searchable index of
cinema and TV schedules with links from each title into the database.


OTHER WWW INTERFACE IMPROVEMENTS

by Col Needham


In addition to the tour Rob has been busy adding lots of new features to
the WWW interface, including:


  • a graphical menu bar to aid navigation around the database and improve
    the presentation of the database.


  • a new search method available via the search page to list the names of
    cast and crew who worked on a group of movies. This will be useful for
    finding the name of someone you recognise in a couple of movies, but
    can’t put a name to the face


  • the exact vote
    counts
    are now available in the ratings section so you can see
    precisely how many people have voted for each element on the 1
    to 10 scale. See:


  • the movie links

    information is now listed at the bottom of the title details page,
    allowing it to be formatted much more cleanly.





NEW INTERNATIONAL TITLE POLICY

by Col Needham


This is a pre-announcement to warn of an impending change to the policy
on non-English titles in the database. To reflect the increasing
international focus of the database we are changing the rules governing
which titles are used as primaries and which are listed as alternatives.
The new policy will be to use the original title in the country of origin
as the primary title with the English translation as the alternative.
This shouldn’t make much difference to the search process since in most
of the interfaces also search the alternative titles database if a match
isn’t found in the primary index. The change should take place within the
next month or so.


IMDB AT THE 19TH CAMBRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL

by Col Needham


On 24th July Colin Tinto, Mark Harding and myself (the UK resident subset
of the team) went along to the Cambridge Film Festival as invited guests
on their “Internet and Film” open day. The day itself was in addition
part of the 4th annual COMEX conference (COMEX is a national organisation
of independent film exhibitors/distributors here in the UK).


I gave a 40 minute overhead projector presentation outlining the database
and including a quick tour through some representative pages. The session
was very well received with lots of questions from people who ranged from
regular users of the IMDB through to some who hadn’t really heard of the
Internet before the start of the day.


As well as providing a rare opportunity for some of the team members to
meet in person, we also made numerous contacts who were interested in
supplying all kinds of information to the database. We spent the full two
hour lunchtime and all the coffee break demonstrating and discussing the
database with the attendees.


The programme for the Cambridge Film Festival, including links into the
IMDB for each movie is available on-line at:


http://www.gold.net/camfest/


OTHER DATABASE PUBLICITY

by Col Needham


We’re always interested to know of any existing magazines / newspapers /
books which feature the database, or if you’re an author planning to
write about the database for such publications.


The IMDB had a very favourable write-up in the August issue of thr UK
Internet magazine .net. The magazine covered movie sites around the web
and included an interview with Mark Harding and myself on what goes on
behind the scenes in the database. For details of the issue see:


http://www.futurenet.co.uk/netmag/Issue9/Contents.html


The database also featured briefly in an article in the main national
daily newspaper in Finland, “Helsingin Sanomat”. Thanks to Kimmo
Ketolainen for letting us know about that.


We’ve also been awarded a certificate of merit in the Point survey of the
top sites on the web. You can read their review of the IMDB at:


http://www.pointcom.com/gifs/reviews/710001.htm


other movie sites are reviewed on:


http://www.pointcom.com/gifs/reviews/aemo.htm


We’re currently listed top of the most visited sites list, joint second
for top experience and joint third place for content:


http://www.pointcom.com/gifs/topsites/


WRITERS AND GENRES SECTIONS BACK ON TRACK

by Col Needham


After delays owing to work and study committments, both the writers and
genres sections are now back on track and are being updated regularly.
The processed backlog has resulted in a massive improvement in coverage,
particularly in the genres section. We now have at least one major genre
category for 1/4 of the database titles.


Remember you can always find out when any section in the database was
last updated by checking here.


CLARIFICATION OF RULES FOR PRODUCTION DESIGNERS SECTION

by Col Needham


Harald Mayr has asked me to point out a
clarification in the rules regarding submissions to the production
designers list:

Please do not send any submissions for the production designers section
if the person is not specifically credited for ‘production designer’.
Production designers are usually credited at the beginning of the movie.
Any information regarding ‘assistant production designers’, ‘art
directors’, ‘set decorators’ or similar should be sent to the
miscellaneous section.


Similar rules apply to the other sections regarding assistants and second
unit crew, but note *all* producer credits are eligible for the producers
section regardless of whether they are credited as executive,
co-producer, associate, line etc.


NEW UNIX INTERFACE ON THE WAY

by Col Needham


The explosion in growth of the database in the last few months means that
another patched version 3.2 of the Unix interface will be released in the
next week or so. The problem is that the number of titles is dangerously
close to the 65,535 limit in the software. I originally stored the title
key codes in 16 bits figuring this gave us years of growth but I
underestimated significantly. If you use the Unix package look out for
further announcements and an update on the ftp sites. This unfortunately
means a large increase in the diskspace required by the package.


IMDB QUIZ COMING!

by Michel Hafner


To celebrate the five year jubilee of the IMDB there will be a quiz,
featuring 100 questions, all related to the world of movies. Participants
can win prizes! Details will follow within the next months and be
announced in relevant news groups and on the WWW servers.


FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS


This is a regular section listing some of the enhancements we’re
currently looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take
quite a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialise because
the original volunteer decides not to proceed.


  • a new business information section for the database to store
    distributors and rights holders contact details, box office
    grosses and other information concerned with the business side
    of the industry.


  • an alternative versions section grown from the current holdings
    in the trivia section in this area. The section will cover
    details and differences between directors cuts, video versions,
    censored versions of movies in the database.


  • a LaserDisc availability section. Note: this section will be
    strictly limited to LD’s only and not grown into any kind of
    generic video catalog.


  • a locally installable MS-Windows interface to the database is
    under final testing for those of you who want to reduce your
    phonebills!


  • new “professional” looking icons under construction for the WWW
    interface.


  • enhanced awards section for the database covering more
    international festivals, national film institutes etc.


  • general support for alternative titles in languages other than
    English and the language of the original country.



Newsletter #1

June 25th, 1995 | Posted by admin in Newsletter - (Comments Off)


edited by Col Needham


Welcome to the first issue of the IMDB newsletter. Based on a suggestion
by team member Murray Chapman this newsletter is
intended to keep users of the system informed of the latest news from the
management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be
directed to me at the address above.


See the further information section at the end of this newsletter for
more information about The Internet Movie Database (IMDB).


We’ll see how it goes before deciding how often to publish this – every
other week seems right to me. We will also look into alternative delivery
mechanisms via an e-mail distribution list, via the WWW and maybe an ftp
archive. If you have the resources to manage an automatic mailing list
and would be willing to handle the distribution of the newsletter, please
let me know.


Contents


DATABASE STATISTICS


This is a regular section giving information about the current size and
growth of the IMDB. We receive between 15,000 and 30,000 additions
every week from users all over the world so it grows at an incredible
rate.


Number of filmography entries: 610,674
Number of people covered: 166,876
Number of movies covered: 46,987

Size of the database (Mb): 43


TRACKING DATA UPDATES IN THE WWW INTERFACE

by Col Needham


A new feature in the WWW interface makes it easy to see when each
section of the database was updated at that site. Some of the mirrors
are already supporting this feature, the
rest will follow shortly.


WWW PUBLICITY MANAGER

by Col Needham


Murray Chapman
, manager of the trivia and goofs
sections has agreed to take on the additional role of WWW publicity
manager within the team. This involves promoting links to the IMDB from
other movie related sites around the web as well as checking existing
links are set-up correctly. If you spot a movie site which doesn’t have
links to us, please let Murray know.


QUOTES SECTION RELAUNCHED

by Col Needham


After an extended hand-over period, the quotes section has been
relaunched with a new manager,
Bob Glickstein If
you’ve been saving any additions,
now’s the time to send them in.


WWW TITLE ADDITIONS INTERFACE SIMPLIFIED

by Col Needham


The title additions interface now has a “pick and mix” menu on it’s
entry page. This enables users to get a simplified, custom form tuned
to the sections for which they have new information. Hopefully people
will find the new interface much less daunting. Again, this is already
available at the UK, USA, German and Australian sites.


NEW BIOGRAPHY FIELD

by Mark Harding


After a recent suggestion by one of the users there is now a new field
in the Biographies section – the “Where are they now?” field. It’s
purpose is to document the activities of people that have retired from
the movies. Additions can be made via the usual routes. So, if you know
what some ex-film star is up to, why not let us now . . . comments or
questions to Mark Harding


CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS/OBITUARIES MAILING LIST

by Mark Harding


In an attempt to satisfy user demand for a mailing list, I am now
willing to accept requests to add people to a weekly mailing of my two
lists. Please send subscription requests directly to me at the address
above.


PLOT SUMMARIES LIST COVERS 6,000 MOVIES

by Col Tinto


The plot summary list has just burst through the 6000 barrier…


It now covers over 6000 different movies, with over 6300 summaries.
Pretty good, you may think. But no – remember there are over 47,000
movies in the database. To cover every movie, at the current rate of
150 summaries a week, would take over 5 years !


So we need your help ! I have worked my way through the ratings list,
and extracted some of the more popular movies that don’t have summaries
yet, and listed them below. Why not pick a few you’ve seen, write a
short summary, and submit them in the usual way…


…And Justice for All (1979)
Accidental Tourist, The (1988)

All of Me (1984)
Casualties of War (1989)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Cousins (1989)
Crossing Delancey (1988)
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)

Falcon and the Snowman, The (1984)
Fright Night (1985)
Hair (1979)
Hairspray (1988)
Mermaids (1990)
NeverEnding Story, The (1984)

Omen, The (1976)
Paper Moon (1973)
Return of the Pink Panther, The (1974)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Westworld (1973)
World According to Garp, The (1982)


Watch out for more plot-less movies in the next issue of IMDB-News.


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO HELP COMPLETE THE DIRECTORS SECTION

by Col Needham

As part of my on-going quest to complete the directors section of the
database, I’m looking for volunteers to help research the directors for
the remaining 3,000 or so movies which lack this information. I can
break the missing information down by year or decade if you have a
particular interest in an specific era. A listing of the number of
titles in each year is available on request. If you like serious
challenges, I have only a handful of 1940s titles left, but no one so
far has been able to complete them – a great task if you’re a trivia
nut. Please contact me via e-mail


FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS


This is a regular section listing some of the enhancements we’re
currently looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take
quite a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialise because
the original volunteer decides not to proceed.


  • a new business information section for the database to store
    distributors and rights holders contact details, box office
    grosses and other information concerned with the business side
    of the industry.


  • an alternative versions section grown from the current holdings
    in the trivia section in this area. The section will cover
    details and differences between directors cuts, video versions,
    censored versions of movies in the database.


  • a LaserDisc availability section. Note: this section will be
    strictly limited to LD’s only and not grown into any kind of
    generic video catalog.


  • a locally installable MS-Windows interface to the database is
    under final testing for those of you who want to reduce your
    phonebills!


  • new “professional” looking icons under construction for the WWW
    interface.