This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Biographical Perspectives" guide.
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Biographical Perspectives   Tags: biography, perspectives  

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Getting Started Print Page

Getting Started

Biographical Fact Finding
Biographical facts are undisputed and free from analysis. These facts reveal basic and verifiable life events (birth, marriage, death) and public activities (schooling, employment, etc.). The facts will hold up to scrutiny when compared to the public record (government licenses, court proceedings, and so forth). The most efficient way to gather these facts is through biographical reference resources, such as:

  • Biographical Dictionaries
    Alphabetical listings and breif information regarding individuals generally related to a specific theme, place or time period.
  • Biographical Encyclopedias
    Collections of short biographical essays.  Considered reference resources, contributing authors are generally highly respected historians who have particular knowledge regarding the subject.
  • Biographies
    Published by reputable sources, these are often referred to as an historical or "authorized" biographies.  These works are generally completed years after the death of an individual and offer the wide scope of hindsight.  Mine them for factual details, but regard anecdotes as less verifiable.
  • Open-Source Websites
    Open-edited resources such as Wikipedia, or individually published biographical sketches are considered less reliable because there is little evidence of the contributor's credentials. When using these, you must BE CAREFUL to examine both the reference list and the discussion page to evaluate for possible bias.

On the Web...

  • s9 Biographical Dictionary
    A wiki type resource that is open edited. Established in 1997 it is one of the largest biography sites on the planet. Careful, no references. You'll want to verify any facts found here.
  • Spartacus Educational
    Great biographical resource from the U.K.

Online Resources


In the library...

  The library houses several biographical encyclopedias as well as a large collection of individual biographies.  Use the online library catalog to locate biographies. 

Cover Art
Notorious Lives
Call Number: R 920
ISBN: 1587653222

Cover Art
Great lives from history
Call Number: R 920.02 GRE
ISBN: 158765346X

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of world biography
Call Number: R 920 ENC
ISBN: 0787622214

Cover Art
Dictionary of American biography
Call Number: R 920.03 DIC
ISBN: 0684804824


Your Guide

Lora Cowell
HUHS Librarian, 2007-2014


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