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An indentation technique is described for measuring the shear strength of the interface between a thin film and a rigid substrate. A simple elastic/plastic analysis is used to describe the experimental results and good agreement between the two is found. The method may also be used to estimate the interfacial toughness so that the important parameters characterizing both initiation and propagation of adhesive failure may be determined from one simple experiment. The analysis is extended to describe the effect of residual stress in the film. Also, the stresses around a pinhole defect in a stressed film are examined.