This guide is designed to help you locate library material on the lives of individuals, both living and dead.
There are several categories of biographical material that the library provides online. These databases can be freely searched on campus or from off campus with a remote access account. These databases are available under "Start Research by Choosing a Subject Area below" on the library homepage by choosing the Biography category.
- Index to Biographical Materials —The Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) is an index to more than 16 million biographical sketches of people both living and dead, from all areas of activity and from all parts of the world. The sources it indexes (thousands in all) are reference sources of the type in Part C below. Once an individual is found in BGMI (for each individual there may be several entries reflecting variations on his or her name as they are entered in the biographical sources) then use the online catalog to determine if the library has the source and where it is located. This database is particularly useful for finding biographical material on little-known and obscure people.
- Books —the Biography category contains links to the online catalog (see Part B below) and also to ebook Collection (EBSCO), which is a full-text database of research books on all subjects. The best way to find full length biographies in this database is to click the Advanced Search tab at the top of the page. To the left of two of the four search boxes provided on the advanced search page use the down arrow to select subject. In one of these two boxes put the name of the individual. In the other put the word “biography.” Click the search button and a list of citations will be returned. Clicking on View this eBook will bring up the full text of the book.
- Reference Sets —These are full text, online reference sets that provide biographies of individuals of the sort found in biographical encyclopedias (many are longer than the biographical sketches uncovered by BGMI but shorter than full length books). Three sets are listed in the biographical databases page. Contemporary Authors offers lengthy (40-50 page) biographies of literary authors. Oxford Reference Online and Biography Resource Center both offer hundreds of thousands of biographical sketches, and longer, of people from all areas of the world and endeavor. These are the full text of biographies found in standard reference sources as well as in periodicals. There is a description of the contents of these databases on the Biography categories page.
Books in the Main Collection
To locate books on the lives of individuals, do a subject search in the library's online catalog. Simply enter the name of the individual, last name, first name, (Eisenhower, Dwight)
Consult the study guide on the online catalog for further information.
Biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias have brief biographical sketches of multiple individuals. An index to this type of source can be found on the database page of the library's web site. This index is called BGMI (Biographical and Genealogical Master Index). Once you have activated BGMI then choose the first search option (Search by Name or Any Word in Name) and follow the directions on the screen. Once you have a list of sources you must then use the online catalog to determine if the library has the cited source. Following are examples of biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias owned by this library.
- Dictionary of American Biography (Ref E 176 .D56)
Scholarly articles on persons who have made significant contributions to American life. Includes persons living previous to 1965.
- Dictionary of National Biography (Ref DA 28 .D48)
Scholarly articles on important British subjects living previous to 1970.
- National Cyclopedia of American Biography (Ref E 176 .N27)
This is the most inclusive biographical reference available on Americans. Permanent series includes persons no longer living; current series includes living persons. Separate index volume provides access to entire set.
- Current Biography (1940 to present) ( Ref CT 100 .C8)
Lengthy articles on important contemporary world figures. Index in last volume of each decade covers the entire decade.
- Who'sWho Series
Very brief biographical sketches of living persons.(Entries are transferred to Who Was Who in America (Ref E 176 .W64) upon the death of a person included in that series.)
- Who's Who (Ref DA 28 .W6) ‑ British subjects
- Who's Who in America (Ref E 663 .W56) ‑ Americans
- Who's Who in the South & Southeast (Ref F 208 .W64)
- Who's Who in the World (Ref CT 120 .W5)
- Who's Who of American Women ( Ref CT 3260 .W5)
- Additional reference materials may be found by doing a subject keyword search in the online catalog and entering a subject or occupation followed by the word biography.
- teachers biography
- civil war biography
Articles appearing in periodicals (journals, magazines and newspapers) can also contain biographical information on individuals. In a general database such as Expanded Academic Index or Academic Search Premier you can enter an individual's name followed by the word biography (hemingway biography). Be aware, however, that in these, and more particularly in subject specific databases such as MLA or PsychInfo, you are more apt to find articles about the genre of biography or biographical scholarship on your individual than you are actual biographies.Revised date 9/11