Using and Evaluating Print Resources
Lesson 5

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Biographies

"There is properly no history, only biography"
Ralph Waldo Emerson in Essays, 1841.

Often when doing research you discover that you need research on a particular person.

Many famous people have book length biographies written about them which you can locate by simply searching the library catalog for the person as a subject.

Searching the catalog by subject

Dylan, Bob
     retrieves:

            Bob Dylan: A Bio-Bibliography

Sometimes a book-length biography is not available. There are a number of reference sources that contain references to biographical information available in various periodicals. One of the largest and most popular examples of this type of reference book is entitled: Current Biography.

Current Biography is published monthly and is cumulated in a bound edition at the end of the year. The aim of Current Biography is "to provide reference librarians, students, and researchers with objective, accurate, and well documented biographical articles about living leaders in all fields of human accomplishments the world over."

Current Biography Yearbook

When attempting to locate an individual biography you must consult the Current Biography index. Most annual volumes have an index which includes the current year and the preceding years back to the beginning of the decade. There is also a cumulative index for the set which includes the years 1940-1990.

Current Biography takes a broad approach, selecting individuals who are popular living social figures.

Another essential resource covering American biography is the 24 volume set American National Biography published by Oxford University Press. CT213 .A68 1998 REFERENCE

There are also specialized biographies that focus on a person as part of a group, movement, period of history, and so on. Placing a person in context is very useful in understanding their importance to history, literature, social progress, science, from a unique perspective.


Women scientists Biography
     retrieves:


     The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science :         Pioneering Lives From Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century


Philosophers Biography
     retrieves:

     Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers


Educators United States Biography 
    retrieves:

    Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Educators

Continue on to the lesson on using Statistical Sources.

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