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Film & Video

Librarian for Film, Video & Digital Media

Profile Photo
Danette Pachtner
My location:
Call me: 919.660.5886
Lilly Library
Room 108
East Campus
Email me
My areas:
Film, Video & Digital Media; Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies; Theater Studies

About the collection

Lilly Library’s film and video collection

The collection includes:

  • Over 30,000 DVDs and thousands more streaming video titles
  • Over 13,000 Videocassettes
  • Over 500 LaserDiscs
  • Over 500 16mm films

The film and video collection is multidisciplinary and international in scope composed of feature films, documentary and short films on 16mm, laser disc, videocassette (both VHS and U-matic), and DVD. Core areas of strength of the collection include Animation/Japanese Anime, Dance, Documentary, Early/Silent Era, Experimental/Avant-Garde, LGBT, Science Fiction, Southern Americana,Women's Studies and International films from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Western Europe.

How long can you check out DVDs? What about fines? Check our loan policies page.

Streaming video titles available through Duke University Libraries

Multiple databases of streaming video that the Libraries subscribe to offer films that can be accessed anywhere (use Duke netid and password authentication).


Film and video formats in Lilly’s collection

Streaming Video


Duke Libraries provides access to films online in streaming video format from platforms that license content, that provide subscriptions, and in some cases when we are able to purchase licenses directly. As of summer 2022, there are over 100,000 streaming video titles available to Duke users through netID/password authentication. 



DVDs come in 6 regional formats. Region 1 is North America, Region 2 is Europe, etc. Region 1 DVDs, for example, can only be played on a Region 1 player or on a code free player, which is a player that has been modified to play discs from all regions. Lilly’s DVDs that need a code free player are labeled with the sticker “Requires Code-Free Player”.   Lilly has 3 code-free players for your use in its viewing stations. Region codes are usually indicated on the back of the DVD box by a number superimposed over a globe (pictured at right). Most DVDs from all regions will also play in a computer with a DVD drive.


Usually called “video tapes,” these come in several formats. They all look alike, but only the NTSC format will play on VCRs sold in North America. The PAL (Europe) and SECAM (Asia) formats require a special multi-format player to play on American TVs. PAL and SECAM tapes are indicated by stickers on the cassette and on its case. Lilly has many titles in these formats. Lilly’s viewing carrels have four Tri-Standard VHS players that can play multi-region VHS tapes.


VCDs look like DVDs (and are called DVDs in the online catalog) but are inferior in picture and sound quality. It usually takes two VCDs to hold the same amount of data as one DVD. You also cannot change subtitles, language, or anything else on these discs. They are like video tapes in this respect. The advantages are that there are no region codes so they will work on any player (including most computers with DVD players) and many titles (especially Asian titles) are available in this format that are unavailable in any other format. Lilly has several hundred VCDs in our collection. These are marked as DVDs, but usually do not have the same functionality as a standard DVD.


Called “Video Discs” in the online catalog, these 12-inch discs look like silver versions of vinyl LPs. Lilly has one LaserDisc player for the collection of about 500 titles, located in the viewing carrels. All LaserDiscs have been sent to storage in the Library Service Center (LSC). As with all LSC materials, you may use the “Request” link next to an item’s catalog listing to request the item to be retrieved and delivered to Lilly or the library of your choice.


This is an old format. The tapes are ¾ inches wide as opposed to the ½-inch wide VHS tapes that are the current standard. Physically the cassettes are much larger than VHS tapes and require a special machine to play. All of Lilly’s U-Matic tapes have been transferred to the Library Service Center, and can be requested through the online catalog. Lilly has one U-Matic player for viewing these tapes; arrangements may be made with library staff for its use. Call the front desk at (919) 660-5995, or email

16-millimeter films

Lilly’s collection of 500 16-millimeter films have been transferred to the Library Service Center (LSC), our off-site storage facility. Patrons needing these films should submit an electronic request at least 3 days prior to the date they wish to view them. You can submit a request to LSC by clicking on the “Request” button under “Get It @ Duke” in the item’s online catalog record.

To reserve 16-millimeter viewing equipment and a location to view a 16-millimeter film, please notify AV Specialist Ken Wetherington at least two days in advance of your showing. You may also contact Ken with any questions about 16-millimeter materials the library holds.