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Finding Biographical Information: Starting Points



Indexes | Searching TOPCAT 2000 | Titles of Particular Interest | Who's Who | From the Web | From FirstSearch


Indexes American Biographical Index

Discover over 300 years of American history through the lives of over 280,000 Americans. This six volume set indexes the American Biographical Archive. 

Call #: REF CT211 .A43x 1986, but found on Index Table I. 

Biographical Books 

Biographies, autobiographies, letters, diaries, journals, biographical dictionaries, collective biographies, and directories are indexed by this title. Two volumes cover from 1876-1980.
Call #: REF Z5301 .B48; .B68 

Biography and Genealogy Master Index 

The Biography and Genealogy Master Index is a comprehensive index to more than 11 million biographical sketches in over 3000 volumes and editions of current and retrospective reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures throughout the world. Available to WKU faculty, staff, and students via the WKU Libraries' Internet Databases menu from Electronic Reference stations 1-12, the Infolab, and ACRS labs, this Web based version of the database is restricted by password. Dialup remote access is not available. The print Biography and Genealogy Master Index is also available in the reference room.
Call #: REF Z5305 .U5 B75, but found on Index Table I. 

Biography Index 

Cumulative index to biographical material found in books and magazines from 1946. This index is updated quarterly.
Call #: REF Z 5301 .B5, but found on Index Table I. 

Current Biography Illustrated (1940-present)

Provides full text of over 23,000 biographies and obituaries of personalities back through World War II. This database reproduces articles articles from  Current Biography Yearbook supplemented with 21,000 images and updates from Biography Index. Search by name, profession, place of origin, gender, race/ethnicity/ birth date, or keyword.

Digital Dissertations (UMI) 

This database contains over 1.5 million entries on doctoral dissertations and master's theses. The database includes citations for materials ranging from the first U.S. dissertation, accepted in 1861, to those accepted as recently as last semester; those published from 1980 forward also include 350-word abstracts, written by the author. Citations for master's theses from 1988 forward include 150-word abstracts. Of the 1.5 million titles listed, UMI offers over a million in full text. For these titles, the database citation includes UMI's order number. The database represents the work of authors from over 1,000 North American graduate schools and European universities. Some 47,000 new dissertations and 12,000 new theses are added to the database each year. Access to this database is restricted by IP address via the campuswide information system, WKUNet. Dialup remote access is not available. 

New York Times Biographical Service 

This service reprints current biographical information of general interest from the New York Times. Monthly issues from 1969 are available at WKU.
Call #: REF CT120 .N45 

New York Times Obituaries Index 

These two volumes index obituaries, not paid notices. Often related news stories are included as well. Volume 1 covers 1858-1968, volume 2 covers 1969-1978.
Call #: REF CT213 .N47 

People in History 

An index to United States and Canadian biographies found in history journals and dissertations. 2 volumes.
Call #: REF CT213 .P36x 1988 

Personal Name Index to the New York Times 

This index provides name access to New York Times newspaper articles. This index refers the user to a specific New York Times Index, which, in turn, refers the user to the appropriate citation to the article. 1851-1974 in 22 volumes. 1975-1993 in 6 volumes.
Call #: REF Z5301 .F28 

Women in Particular: An Index to American Women 

This index provides several options for finding biographical information on American women, field and career, ethnic and racial, religious affiliation, geographical, and name.
Call #: REF HQ1412 .H47 1984 


Searching TOPCAT 2000

Subject Searching

{Subject} Biography {space}Dictionaries {space} 20th Century
{Subject} UNITED STATES {space} BIOGRAPHY
{Subject} PSYCHOLOGISTS {space} BIOGRAPHY
{Subject} ECONOMISTS {space} BIOGRAPHY
{Subject} TWAIN {space} MARK (Lastname Firstname)

Title Searching 

{Ttitle} WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA
{Title} WHO WAS WHO
{Title} ROYALL TYLER (Firstname Lastname)
{Title} GREAT LIVES FROM HISTORY

Keyword Searching 

{Keyword} BIOGRAPHY
{Keyword} AUTOBIOGRAPHY
{Keyword} +MARK +TWAIN


Titles of Particular Interest

Dictionary of American Biography 

To be included in this series, one must have lived in the United States and must have made a significant contribution to American life. British officers serving in America after the colonies declared independence were excluded. No living persons are included in this series.
Call #: REF E176 .D56 

Dictionary of American Negro Biography 

Information on blacks from all walks of life who lived prior to 1970 are included in this work. References to manuscript collections, obituaries, and other works are part of the entry.
Call #: REF E185.96 .D53 1982 

Dictionary of Literary Biography 

Entries in this set are career biographies, following the development of an author's canon and evolution of her/his reputation. DLB defines literature as the "intellectual commerce of a nation . . . the ample and complex process by which ideas are generated" and accordingly, volumes go beyond the scope of creative writers.
Call #: REF PS221 .D55x, but found on Index Table III. 

Dictionary of National Biography 

The DNB includes substantive articles on British or Irish persons who have gained distinction in any field. It also includes persons from other countries that have made a contribution to Great Britain. No living persons are included in this work.
Call #: REF DA28 .D47 

Dictionary of Scientific Biography 

DSB was created to provide information on the history of science by focusing on the professional lives of scientists, those that have made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge. While this set covers from classical to modern times, no living persons are included. Primary areas of coverage include biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, and earth sciences.
Call #: REF Q141 .D5 

Eminent Economists: Their Life Philosophies 

This volume is a collective biography of twenty-two economists who discuss their philosophies.
Call #: HB76 .E45 1992 in Cravens Collection.

Great Lives from History: American Women Series 

The biographical entries in this series include one's contributions and significance. Bibliography of significant works about the subject are most helpful. Name and area of achievement indexes are included.
Call #: REF HQ1412 .G74 1995 

Makers of Nineteenth Century Culture, 1800-1914 

In an encyclopedic form, this volume provides articles for interpretation and ready reference. Other works need to be consulted for more detail. Performing artists are excluded from this work.
Call#: REF CT119 .M23x 1982 

Makers of the Modern World: The Lives of Ninety-two Writers, Artists, Scientists, Statesmen, Inventors, Philosophers, Composers, and Other Creators Who Formed the Pattern of Our Century 

Published in 1955, this book contains biographical information about ninety-two men and women whose creative contributions during the prior one hundred years broke new ground, altered our cultural patterns, and changed our way of living.
Call #: Ref CT119 .U5 

Musician's Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings Available in English, 1800-1980. 

This bibliography is an uncritical, annotated compilation of over 800 autobiographical English language books, books with autobiographical sections, manuscripts, and periodical articles, written or published from 1800 to 1980 by over 700 musicians and those active in music-related endeavors either by profession or avocation, excluding the dance.
Call #: REF ML128 .B3 A3 1982 

Women in Psychology: A Bio-bibliographic Sourcebook 

While the work of thirty-six women are profiled in this book, bibliographic references provide the means to find information on other women who have made a contribution in the psychology field.
Call #: REF BF109 .A1 W65 1990 


Who's Who

International Who's Who in Education 

Formerly entitled Who's Who in Education, this volume provides entries on the world's leading educators. Representation from as many countries as possible and from all levels of education may be found. Photos are included as well.
Call #: REF LA2301 .I57 1987x 

Who Was Who 

The historical volume covers 1607-1896. Supplements for other years are available. Companion biographical work to Who's Who in America.
Call #: REF E176 .W64, but found on Index Table 0. 

Who's Who in America 

Biographical dictionary of best known women and men that have achieved reputable standing in various fields.
Call #: REF E176 .W642, but found on Index Table 0. 

Who's Who in Finance and Industry 

This directory contains comprehensive biographical data on approximately 18,000 business executives. Included are executives and professionals in the fields of insurance, international banking, commercial and investment banking, factoring, mutual and pension fund management, commercial and consumer credit, international trade, real estate, investment services, manufacturing, retail trade, and other professions closely related to the business and financial worlds. 
Call #: REF HF 3023 .A2 W51x, but is found on Index Table 0 

Who's Who of American Women 

Biographical dictionary of American women, although world notables are included.


Call #: REF CT3260 .W5, but found on Index Table 0. 

Who's Who Hint:
Try a TOPCAT 2000 title search [who's who] to discover all the topical, vocational, and regional titles that begin with who's who! 

From the Web

Biography.com  http://www.biography.com/
This site is brought to the web by A&E Television Networks. Search the database of over 20,000 entries from Jeppe Aakjaer (novelist & poet) to Vladimir Zworykin (physicist). Find information about people in the arts, sciences, sports, politics, and more. The database is international in scope.

The Faces of Science: African-Americans in the Sciences
http://www.princeton.edu/~mcbrown/display/faces.html
African American men and women who have contributed to the advancement of science and engineering are profiled at this site maintained by the Louisiana State University Libraries.

The Founding Fathers: Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/constitution/confath.html
This web site is part of the National Archives and Records Administration's online exhibit. Biographies and photos of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention are accessible.

Great Canadian Scientists http://fas.sfu.ca/css/gcs/main.html
This site has a purely Canadian focus. Persons are inlcuded if they held Canadian citizenship when they made their scientific discoveries or contributions. Barry Shell, Simon Fraser University, is the founder and project manager for this endeavaor, which is funded in part by the Science Culture Canada and the BC Ministry of Employment Partners in Science Awareness Program.

The Nobel Foundation http://www.nobel.se/nobel/nobel-foundation
At this official web site of the Nobel Foundation, find biographical informaton about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Laureates in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace, and economic sciences.

POTUS: Presidents of the United States http://www.ipl.org/ref/POTUS/
A project of the acclaimed Internet Public Library, POTUS is the most comprehensive site on the web for information about the Presidents of the United States. Biographical informtion, cabinet members, election results, adminstration highlights, and presidential trivia are provided. Links are provided for much more: historical documents, inaugural addresses, biographies, first ladies, and other Internet resources. In some instances audio and video files are available.

The Pulitzer Prizes http://www.pulitzer.org
Columbia University has awarded Pulitzer Prizes annually since 1917. Learn about those Americans who have received these prestigious prizes for their achievements in journalism, letters, drama, and music. 

United States Supreme Court Justices http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/justices/fullcourt.html
Read biographical sketches of the current sitting justices of the USSC and the recently retired Harry A. Blackmun. Links are provided to their recent decisions. This site is brought to the web by Cornell Law School. 

Looking for people on the Web?
Try looking for the employer's web site, particularly if the employer is an institution of higher education. Often biographical information about faculty may be found! 

Library Databases

The following library databases offered by the library may prove useful for biographical information as well: WorldCat, Biography & Genealogy Master Index, Biography Reference Bank, PapersFirst, Dissertation Abstracts, LexisNexis, Newsbank, Academic Search Premier, Masterfile Premier, Newspaper Source, or search any appropriate subject-specific database. Most of the library databases require passwords. For information on how to gain access to this service, contact the subject librarians for your department or call the reference desk at x6125. 

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 Last Modified 9/25/14