Skip to main content

SAGES First Seminar: Find Biographical Information

This guide accompanies the library session for your SAGES first seminar

Ask A Librarian

 

VPN Reminder

Library resources are accessed openly by Case wired computers or by using the Case Wireless network. If connecting in any other method, please install, turn on, and log into VPN.

At the bottom of the KSL homepage, a green light says you have full access.

Finding Biographical Information

There are many resources at your disposal to find biographical information.  Here are a few.

 


 

The library catalog

When might you use the catalog?

If the person in question has been active for many years, it is likely that books have been written about him or her.  This may be a novelist, a politician, or a scientist.  Remember that when a book is written about a person, a Library of Congress subject category for that person's name is created.  So using the Subject search in the catalog is a good way to find books about that person.  For example, here is a screen shot of the results of a Subject search for books about Theodore Roosevelt:

You will see that there are even sub-categories, which will help you refine your search for books on certain aspects of Roosevelt.

 


 

Biographical Reference Sources

Many reference sources are excellent for finding biographical information.  Here are a few:

 

  • American National Biography is a fantastic source for biographical information about Americans.  It has over 127,000 entries, all full text, online. You can search the entries by a specific name, or by category, era, sex, birth date, and many other ways.
  • Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography- This guide is excellent for finding biographical information about scientists.  The entries are usually 3-6 pages long, are signed entries, and include bibliographies that will point you to more sources about the scientist.
  • The Oxford Reference Online collection has many entries that are biographical in nature.
  • Was your person a Clevelander?  If so, there is probably an entry about him in the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • If you are researching a literary figure, try the Literary Reference Center.  This online database has full text biographical information, as well as articles on literary criticism and even original works.
  • Newsmakers- if the person is currently in the news, you might want the latest information from newspapers.  Try our list of online news sources here.
  • If the person is a musician or an artist, try the excellent Grove reference sources, Grove Music or Grove Art.
There are hundreds of other sources that have biographical information.  Please contact a reference librarian for more ideas!