Research Guides


Biographical information is available in many different sources. Any information that you may know about the person (nationality, birth, death, occupation, education, sex, race, and religion) may help determine the sources to use. Listed below are resources that may be helpful in your research. If you need additional help, please see the Reference Librarian or your Instructor.
General Encyclopedias (Reference; AE Section; Online)

General encyclopedias will often have a good overview or outline of an individual’s life and accomplishments. Also, many times an encyclopedia will list additional resources pertaining to the individual. Older encyclopedias are available for checkout and are located on the second floor under the same call number. Encyclopedia Britannica is available any where on campus via the Internet. 

Biographical Encyclopedias (Reference; CT Section)

Biographical encyclopedias will often have short sketches of famous individuals.

American National Biography
 (REF CT213 A68)
Chambers Biographical Dictionary (REF CT103 C4)
Current Biography (REF CT100 C81)
International Who’s Who (REF CT120 I44)
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Biography (REF CT103 E56)
Newsmakers (REF CT120 C664)
Notable American Women (REF CT3260 N57)

Specialized Encyclopedias and Dictionaries (Reference; First Floor)

Specialized encyclopedias often supply biographical information. Some, such as Who’s Who in America, contain very brief sketches of a person’s life and career. Others, such as the Dictionary of American Biography, contain lengthy authoritative articles often accompanied by a list of other materials.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists (REF Q141 B532)
Dictionary of American Biography (REF E176 D563)
Encyclopedia of World Art (REF N31 E4833)
A Guide to Psychologists and Their Concepts (REF BF109 A1 N67)
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (REF H40 A2 I5)
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (REF ML100 N48)
Official Congressional Directory (REF JK1011 U5)
Who’s Who Among African Americans (REF E185.96 W52)
Who’s Who in America (REF E663 W56)

Biography Index (Index Table; First Floor)

The Biography Index lists citations for books, essays, and magazine articles about people. Look under your subject's last name in the Index; then check the online card catalog to see if the library owns the item(s) listed.

Online Card Catalog

The online card catalog is an index to the library's books and audiovisual materials. You may search the catalog from any computer with Internet access.

Information about a specific individual may be under his/her name as a subject in the catalog. For example, if you were trying to locate information about Emily Dickinson, you would input your search as DICKINSON, EMILY. If no entries are found, the library does not have a whole book on that person; however, think of a topic in which you might locate information.

Biographies about people in specific professions, geographic areas or nationalities are listed under subjects with the subdivision "--BIOGRAPHY" and




Online Databases

Before entering the RSC Online Databases from off-campus, you will need to activate your campus username and password. Stop by the Reference Desk in the Library, and we will assist you in getting on the network. After completing this process on campus, you will be able to utilize any of the databases from wherever you have Internet access. More complete instructions may be found at Online Database Login Instructions.

EBSCOhost, Facts on File, and NewsBank will be the best databases for biographical information.


Although an unorganized and unregulated resource the Internet does contain valuable information.