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.
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...
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.
HUHS Librarian, 2007-2014