Biographical Information

Biographical information on contemporary or historical persons can be found in a wide variety of sources. These include:

  • biographies and autobiographies in books
  • biographical dictionaries and reference book series including online reference books
  • newspaper and periodical stories (print and electronic).
  • web pages

Three basic pieces of information often assist in locating biographical information. Knowing one or more of these answers may guide you to a source of information about the person. They are:

  • Is the person living or when did s/he live
  • What is the person’s nationality or where is his/her home
  • What is/was the person’s occupation or has the person done something noteworthy?

Some sources specialize in particular countries, occupations or time periods.

BIOGRAPHIES

Many famous persons are the subject of full length biographies and/or autobiographies in books. Check the Busse Library Catalog for books we may own on the person. Do a SUBJECT SEARCH to find books about a person.  Also do an AUTHOR search to see if we own any books by the person.

There are books about groups which may include the person. Some are by occupation, race, historical period, etc. Use KEYWORD searches to locate these books. The keyword biographical is useful in locating these books in the library catalog.

DICTIONARIES AND SERIES

Biographical dictionaries and series are useful. Use several because they include varying amounts of information. Here is a sampling of resources you will find in the catalog.


American men and women of science. Q 141 .A478
American National Biography - over 20,000 biographies online - see databases directory
Biography index. Index back wall.
Contemporary artists. N 6490 .C6567 Ref.
Contemporary authors. Z 1224 .C6 Ref.
Current biography. CT 100 .C8 Ref.
Dictionary of American biography. E 176 .D56 Ref.
Dictionary of national biography. DA 28 .D48 Ref.
Dictionary of scientific biography. Q 141 .D5 Ref.
Groves dictionary of music and musicians. ML 100 G8863 Ref.
International. dictionary of women's biography. C R 3202 .I57 Ref.
Iowa official register. JK 6331 Ref.
Notable American women dictionary. CT 3260 .N57 Ref.
Who's who of American women. CT3260 .W5 Ref.
Who's who. DA 28 .W6 Ref.
Who's who in America. E176 .W6422 Ref.
Who was who in America. E663 .W54 Ref.
Who's who in children's books. c1975. PN1009.A1 F575 Ref.
Who's who in twentieth-century literature. Ebook.

PERIODICALS

The various periodical indexes (both paper and electronic) will have references to magazine, newspaper and journal articles about many notable people.   Subject and keyword searches of the various databases will sometimes yield factual information about a person.

See the databases directory webpage and Note #A6 for a list of print periodical indexes available in Busse Library.