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Dual Credit: Research Tips & Guides

Boolean Searching


Fun and quick tutorial about Boolean search methods.

 By Berkeley University





You Quote it You Note It.

You be the judge.

Intellectual Property

UCLA Carlos and Eddie cartoons.


Copyright and You (from the University of St. Augustine)


Tips for Finding Biographical Information

A search for biographical information is usually for a person who has achieved a measure of distinction during his or her lifetime. However, most people leave little recorded information,  except perhaps an obituary, a will, a few letters and photographs, personal financial records, and sometimes a diary, journal, etc. Basic information about very well-known individuals can often be found by consulting a general encyclopedia, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Before you start a search, it helps to know some basic facts about the person.

  • What is the correct spelling of the individual's full name?
    • Does the person use a middle name or initials, instead of the first name?
    • For women, is there both a married name and a maiden name?
    • For writers, is there a pen name or pseudonym?
    • For performers, is there a stage name?
    • Is the person known by a nickname or alias?
  • Is the person alive or dead?
    • Birth and death dates may be helpful in the case of individuals whose first and last names are common (e.g., James Smith). 
    • What is the person's nationality or place of residence?
    • What is the person's profession, occupation, or position?
    • Titles of works published or performed?
    • Does the person have a famous relative or spouse?
    • Any memberships in associations or organizations?
    • Other connections with established institutions?

Sources for Biographical Information include:

Primary Sources: An information source is considered primary if it is a work written, created, or generated by the person whose life is the subject of the search. Primary sources include:

  • Letters, notes, and other messages written by or to the person during his/her lifetime
  • Memoranda, directives, and reports written by the person, usually in a professional or occupational capacity
  • Diaries, journals, memoirs, commonplace books, and other autobiographical materials written by the person
  • Photographs or moving pictures taken of the person during his or her lifetime
  • Creative works written, composed, or performed by the person during his or her lifetime
  • Interviews and oral histories recorded during the person's lifetime
  • Inscriptions, notes, and marginalia written in books and on other documents
  • Legal and administrative records pertaining to the person's life
  • Newspaper reports of events that occurred in the person's life and during the time in which he or she lived
  • Diaries and memoirs written by those who knew the person

Secondary Sources:An information source is considered secondary if it is a work written by others about the person's life and times or about his/her works. Secondary sources include:

  • Obituaries written and published at the time of death
  • Essays published in biographical and general reference works
  • Articles about the person's life published in periodicals (newspapers, magazines, and journals)
  • Documentary films and videorecordings about the person's life
  • Book-length biographies and histories
  • Reviews and criticism of the person's creative works
  • Bibliographies of sources about the person's life and works

Scholarly Articles

Scholarly vs Popular

Subject Guide

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Crystal Gale
110E Meyer Library