CVM Collections and Archives

Researcher Guidelines


Scholars, authors, archivists, curators, students, and other researchers working on bona fide topics are invited to call or write to inquire about the materials. Our Los Angeles office and research library are open by appointment. Appointments are required, usually with a minimum of 2 weeks in advance. Much material is stored offsite and must be retrieved before your visit. Appointments are made for one person at a time, unless special arrangements are necessary. CVM usually can only offer appointments Tues-Fri, for periods between noon - 6pm. There are a limited number of appointments made each month. We are unable to offer residencies at this time.

PLEASE offer some specifics in your request. We cannot arrange appointments to see "all Fischinger materials" or "all films by Fischinger and Bute," for example, as that's c. 70 films! It's helpful to know what research you've conducted in advance. If you're researching Fischinger, have you reviewed our Fischinger book, Oskar Fischinger: Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction, and/or Moritz's Optical Poetry.

Appointment availability: Appointments are restricted during certain periods of 2019. Appointments are not available during April 15-May 1, the week of May 13, the first week of June, last week of August, much of September, and the first 10 days of October. We will be moving our office in late 2019, and will post updates when scheduled..

CVM is not a circulating library, access is only permitted on-site. No bags, backpacks or large purses are permitted in the library. No photography or videotaping is allowed. No food or liquids may be brought into CVM, though there is a kitchen, refrigerator and lounge area for use near the office area.

Parking is available at several parking lots near CVM. There is free street parking several blocks west on Orange, and on streets around Orange, for 2 or 4 hours. There are many parking lots north and south of our block, and one that is one block east, for paid parking. Plus metered parking on streets bordering our building. There are many cafes and restaurants in the immediate area, and a small cafe in our building in the basement.

Film and Video: Research copies of films may be available for viewing as HD files, DVD and/or vhs video. Special arrangements may be made to view selected works on 35mm or 16mm film offsite, with fees charged for projection.

Appointments may be scheduled for viewing dvd/videos/files onsite; viewing time is billed at $25/hour (CVM members receive discounts and/or free viewing time). Discounts may be possible in certain situations (academic research on non-funded projects). CVM does not duplicate or provide copies from the viewing library. Through our online store or at our offices, we offer low cost DVDs for sale for private home use or for institutional (university and college) use. Materials from our store may be purchased online, or on premises via credit card or cash, We generally don't screen the major Fischinger films onsite, with certain exceptions, as they are available on our DVD releases for advance viewing..

For archival films not yet transferred, researchers have the option to pay the costs to digitize and view the films onsite. In some cases CVM can provide a private link to view some films online.


Special Collections: Paper, Monographs, Periodicals. Access is permitted on-site and by appointment only. Due to the volume of requests and available staffing, researchers requiring more than one appointment are charged small access fees (particularly those on commercial, museum, or other funded projects). Researchers will have access to photocopies of paper materials and/or digital surrogates. In most cases Researchers may not handle fragile original materials.

Please note that certain materials are restricted, unprocessed, or currently undergoing conservation, and may not be currently available. Finding aids are in progress for parts of our collections. Access to archival originals may be approved in selected cases, usually supervised by CVM staff. If you request archival originals to be retrieved from offsite storage vaults, a moderate fee is charged (per trip to retrieve, not per item).

Monograph and periodical materials are also available for research. Photocopying is billed at 25 cents per copy, more for oversize materials, with a limited amount possible onsite. Photocopy orders may be placed for additional and oversize materials; copies will normally be mailed within 2 weeks. Inquire re prices for scans. Some materials are restricted and may not be photocopied. No rights are granted for any reproduction or publication, all copyright and clearance issues are the responsibility of the researcher. All access fees and photocopy fees must be paid at the time of your visit.

Please contact us if you are unable to visit in person and wish to order photocopies or scans of non-restricted materials.

Research Requests: There is no fee for basic research requests requiring under 10 minutes time. An hourly rate is charged for research requests requiring CVM staff's additional time, please inquire.

Other Materials: Please inquire re access to photographic materials, animation drawings, or other materials. Reproduction requests for photographic materials may be granted in certain cases, subject to rights clearance and copyright holder restrictions. Please contact CVMaccess (at)

CVM is able to license images for the works of Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson, Charles Dockum, Mary Ellen Bute and selected other artists, for approved requests.

Exhibition Research: Selected original materials may be viewed for consideration for exhibition loans, to qualified major institutions. Please contact us, providing full details on your exhibition, institution, and materials requested for research/viewing. Previous approved loans have included Fischinger animation drawings, artwork, papers and process materials.

NEW Research Resource: CVM maintains a Research Errata page, referencing common errors in visual music scholarship, and errata in recent publications.


Please direct questions and inquiries to

Center for Visual Music

email: cvmaccess (at) gmail (dot) com
phone 213-683-1514


Last modified Apr 2019

Yes, I want to help support CVM's preservation, cataloging and access programs by making a donation via credit card. CVM is a non- profit 501(c) 3, donations are tax deductible.


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