Answered By: ESC Sara
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2023     Views: 168

Library Databases

The first place to look is the Biography Reference Center database, accessed via the library's Dictionaries & Encyclopedias link.

There are also scholarly biographical articles. Use a database on the subject for which the person was famous. If that is unclear, use a multidisciplinary database like Academic Search Complete or ProQuest Research Library. Search like this:

"Frederick Douglass" AND biography



Especially notable individuals may have a biography written about them in the form of a book. To search our Ebook Catalog, go to the library website and click E-books. Use the pull-down menu next to the search box to select Subject Words, and in the search box, type the person's name, in quotation marks. To read any book in the search results list, click the View Ebook link.

If you want to broaden your search for biographical books, your public library will probably have many biographies written for a popular audience. 

You can also go to your nearest SUNY or New York State community college library, where you will find more scholarly biographies. Empire State College students may take out books using their college photo ID. You may also check with your public library to see if they offer a regional borrower's card to use at other college libraries in your area. 


The Web

People who are prominent in their fields often have biographical information on the Web. If the biographical information about a business person is on the website of their business or professional association, or the biography of a chemist is on the website of the American Chemical Society or the university that employs them, it is usually a valid source. Otherwise, be prepared to evaluate anything found of the Web for validity.

Biographical information on historical figures may also be found on the Web. Wikipedia can be great starting point for your research. After reading the article, use its bibliography to find additional information resources on the topic. 

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