Knowing a few basic facts about the person you are researching will make your search for more in-depth information much easier. How many of these facts do you already know?
Determine how much information you need about the person (a few brief facts or a lengthy account of the person's life) and whether you need Primary or Secondary Sources.
Primary Sources are works generated by the person you are researching. Examples of primary sources include: letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, photographs, interviews, creative works, and newspaper accounts of events in the person's life.
Secondary Sources are works written by others about the person's life and the times in which they lived. Examples include: book-length biographies, essays in reference books, articles published in journals or newspapers, films or videos about the person's life, obituaries, bibliographies of sources about the person's life and works, and reviews and criticisms of the person's creative works.
For a more in-depth discussion about Primary vs Secondary Materials, click here.
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- Contemporary Authors [Z 1224 C59] 1962+
Provides biographical and bibliographic information on writers in fiction, general, nonfiction, poetry, drama, motion pictures, television. Focuses primarily on authors of published books but also includes prominent persons in communications: newspapers and television reporters, correspondents, columnists, editors, photojournalists, syndicated cartoonists, screenwriters, television scriptwriters and other media people.
- Contemporary Authors New Revision Series [Z 1224 C6] 1981+
Includes sketches requiring significant changes of active writers from the Contemporary Authors series
- Dictionary of Literary Biography [PS 129 D46]
Each volume or set in this multi-volume series covers a specific literary movement, genre or period. Provides descriptions of life and work, career chronology and references.
- American Men and Women of Science [Q 141 A47] 1989/90
Brief, factual sketches of outstanding Canadian and American scientists.
- The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists [Q 141 B528)] 1994
Provides biographies of people who have made major contributions to the various scientific disciplines.
- The Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists [Q 141 C128] 1996
Provides biographies of international scientists.
- Dictionary of Scientific Biography [Q 141 D5] 1970-1980
Includes more than 5,000 evaluative biographies of deceased mathematicians and natural scientists from many countries.
- Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science [Q 141 B5285] 2000
Provides biographical and bibliographical information on approximately 2,500 women scientists
- Who's Who in Canadian Film and Television [PN 1998 A1 W5] 1991/92
Includes film and television directors, picture editors, writers, producers, cinematographers, art directors, composers, production managers, costume designers, sound personnel and publicists.
- Who's Who in the Theatre: a biographical record of the contemporary stage
[PN 2012 W5] 1967; 1977; 1981
Includes biographies of performers, composers, dramatists, critics, managers, etc. Emphasis on British, but more Americans in recent years.
- Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television [PN 2285 C58] 1984+
A Continuation of Who's Who in the Theatre
- Who Was Who in the Theatre 1912-1976: a biographical dictionary of actors, actressess, directors, playwrights and producers of the English-speaking theatre [PN 2597 W52]
- International Dictionary of Theatre [PN 2035 I49] 1992-1996
Vol. 2 & 3 contain entries on playwrights, actors, directors and designers
- Contemporary Canadian Musicians [ML 106 C3 C665] 1997
Profiles the personalities in the music industry who create or influence the work we hear today. All genres are covered.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians 2nd ed. [ML 100 N48] 2001
Includes entries on composers, performers, scholars, writers on music, theorists, administrators, dancers, designers, directors, patrons, people in business of music, etc.
- International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Directory [ML 105 I5] 1998/99
Includes biographies of contemporary musicians in the classical and light classical fields
- International Who's Who in Classical Music [ML 105 I5] 2002
Provides biographical information on over 8,000 prominent people in the fields of classical and light classical music, including composers, conductors, instrumentalists, singers, arrangers, writers and managers.
- International Who's Who in Popular Music [ML 105 I52] 2002
Provides biographical information on over 5,000 prominent people from pop, rock, folk, jazz, dance, world and country music, including instrumentalists, singers, writers, producers and managers.
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians [ML 105 B16] 2001
A biography of composers, scholars, performers, conductors, etc. with a far greater proportion of musicians active in fields of popular music, rock music and jazz.
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Classical Musicians
[ML 105 S612] 1997
- The Canadian Parliamentary Guide [JL 5 A4] broken holdings from 1862-1969; 1970+
Contains biographical sketches of members of the Governor General's Household, the Privy Council, members of Canadian legislatures (federal, provincial and territorial), members of the federal superior courts and senior staff for these institutions.
- Who's Who in Canadian Business [HF 5071 W54] 2003
Includes biographies of the key players in the Canadian business community.
- Contemporary American Business Leaders: a biographical dictionary [HC 102.5 A2 I535] 1990
Provides biographical information on the "historically most significant" American business leaders since W.W.II.
- Business Leader Profiles for Students [HC 102.5 A2 B79] 1999
Includes biographies of past and present business leaders who have made significant contribution to business and industry
- Corporate Eponyms: a Biographical Dictionary of the Persons Behind the Names of Major American, British, European and Asian Businesses [HC 29 R66] 1992
Provides insight into who the people are behind the familiar commercial names of today. Most people are from the 19th century.
- Who's Who of Canadian Women 1997 [FC 26 W6 W46]
Shows the breadth and depth of women's activities and achievements in Canada
- Handbook of American Women's History [HQ 1410 H36]
Includes brief biograpical sketches of contemporary persons crucial in providing critical backgound information on the post-1960 phase of the modern women's movement. Also includes basic bibliographies for most entries.
- Great Dames [FC 26 W6 G73] 1997
A collection of short biographical sketches, memoirs and essays about Canadian women of the twentieth century from all walks of life.
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Listed below are selected indexes/databases on which to search for biographical material. The indexes can be accessed by clicking on Indexes/databases on the Library's homepage. Please contact the Information & Research Assistance (Reference) staff on level 10 of the Library for assistance in accessing these as well as other appropriate indexes. Note that anyone can access these in the Library but only U of L students, staff and faculty can access these from off-campus.
The following sources are located on Level 10 of the Library in the Reference area. For assistance in locating and using these sources, please contact the Information & Research Assistance (Reference) staff.
Content Revised: September 18, 2015