Last Updated: Sep 12, 2012
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Writing a biographical essay -- where do I start?
For literary authors, many research resources combine material about the author’s life with reviews and criticism of the author’s writings. Some include essays on themes found within the writings. These databases are good places to look for material for your essay:
- Biography Reference Bank
Biography Reference Bank contains biographical information on approximately half a million people, from antiquity to the present, along with thousands of images. In addition to the full text biographies, Biography Reference Bank contains millions of magazine citations. The biographies are searchable by name, profession, title, place of origin, gender, race/ethnicity, titles of works, date of birth, date of death, keyword, and presence of images.
- Gale Literature Resource Center
The Gale Literature Resource Center (LRC) is a literature reference database covering authors from antiquity to the present. It is comprised of the online versions of Gale's three flagship literature reference sources (Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and Dictionary of Literary Biography), plus selections from an additional fourteen Gale literature reference sources and the full text of over 270 prominent literary journals.
- Academic Search Complete
Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 6,100 full-text periodicals, including more than 5,100 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 10,100 journals and a total of more than 10,600 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. This resource also includes the EBSCO eBook Academic Collection, a growing collection which currently includes 113,000 titles (as of March 2013). This allows students and faculty access to all these e-books, covering a broad range of disciplines.
JSTOR is a database providing indexing and full text access for about 500 peer-reviewed scholarly journals in 42 disciplines. Coverage is heavily weighted toward social sciences and humanities. The titles covered are almost exclusively oriented toward the scholar (senior or higher academic level), but some articles may be appropriate for use by lower level undergraduates.
- Project MUSE
Project MUSE offers full-text current and archival articles from 500+ scholarly journals from major university presses covering literature and criticism, history, performing arts, cultural studies, education, philosophy, political science, gender studies, and more. This database is more appropriate for the advanced student or scholar, but lower level undergraduates may also find useful material.