Internet Movie Database

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The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about actors, films, television shows, video games and production crew personnel.

It was officially created on October 17, 1990 by Col Needham with information gathered in a Usenet newsgroup. It became a commercial venture in 1996. In 1998 it was purchased by Amazon.com. It is free to access although in 2003 it began offering additional content with a subscription fee.

Most of the content is provided by volunteer contributors. As of October 6, 2006 IMDb featured 849,505 titles and 2,221,132 people

Overview

The IMDb website consists of the largest known single accumulation of data on individual films (including complete cast and crew listings), television programs (including complete cast and crew listings), direct-to-video product and videogames reaching back to their respective beginnings, and worldwide in scope. Wherever possible, the information goes beyond simple screen or press credits to include uncredited personnel and companies involved, either artistically or technically, in the production and distribution, thus aiming at completeness of detail (even including filming locations of productions). Furthermore, IMDb tracks projects in production, and even major, announced projects still in the developmental stage. Simultaneously, a collateral database of all persons identified in the product database exists, including biographical details and information about other aspects of their professional lives not covered by individual entries in the database (theatrical appearances, commercial advertising appearances, etc.). Information is largely provided by a cadre of volunteer contributors, with only 17 members of the staff dedicated to monitoring the data received.

The IMDb also offers ancillary material such as daily movie and TV news, and running special features about various movie events such as the Academy Awards. IMDb also has an active message board system: there are message boards for each database entry, which can be found at the bottom of the relevant page, as well as general discussion boards on various topics.

IMDb is a free site, which requires only registration to access its complete range of data and activities. Any person with an e-mail account and a web browser that accepts cookies can set up an account with IMDb, then research covered product, submit information and engage in other site activities. (Site visitors not wishing to provide registration information can, however, view and search the database.) For automated queries, most of the database can be downloaded as (compressed) plain text files and the information can be extracted using the tools provided (typically using a command line interface). See: IMDb interfaces

It has also in 2003 spun off a private, subscription-funded site, IMDbPro, offering the entire IMDb contents plus additional information for business professionals, such as personnel contact details, movie event calendars, and a greater range of industry news.

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