Research Guides by Subject


Using Biography in Context


What is Biography in Context?

Biography in Context is a database that features biographical information on more than 165,000 individuals. It covers a wide area of historical periods, disciplines, and subject areas. The information that you have access to is drawn from a number of different sources including entries from numerous reference books and full-text articles from more than 250 periodicals. The entries and articles that you may retrieve have been written by journalists, noted scholars, and subject experts. In many cases you may also be able to see additional information including media clips and links to pertinent sites on the World Wide Web.


Searching for information on Biography in Context



The first screen you will see when entering the database will allow you to submit a Name Search for the name of an individual. You may also search by occupation or nationality.

Examples: you are searching for information about the writer Ralph Ellison. You may type “Ralph Ellison” or “Ellison, Ralph” and select the “Name contains”. Regardless of the order in which you enter the name, you will retrieve the same result, a link to a list of resources on the writer. You will get the same results by selecting the “Start of the last name” option. However, the “Start of the last name” option may retrieve far too many results if you are researching an individual with a very common last name like Smith . For example, if you are looking for information on the poet Stevie Smith and select “Start of the last name” you will get no results; but if you select “Name contains” you will be directed to a link for “Smith, Florence Margaret”, which was her real name

You are also able to refine your search by selecting the Advanced search. In the Advanced search you may specify for results in full text documents, peer reviewed journals, and document type.


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