Tuesday, February 05, 2013

How to Find a Biography

Are you in need of a biography? Maybe you are taking a class and need biographical information or an entire biography on a certain person. You are pretty sure the library has this kind of information, but you don't know how to go about finding it. We can help you with that!

Start with a catalog search to see if we have books about your subject. I'm going to use Dietrich Bonhoeffer as my example below.

1. Search our Catalog

Go to the Library home page at http://library.hiu.edu .

Use the Advanced Search screen to set up the search (do you see the Advanced Search link below the search box?):

Our catalog is set up to search not only books in our library, but also books in other libraries as well as journal articles to which we may or may not have access. Because of this, it is helpful to limit your search to just books in the HIU collection. To do this, use the Add/Remove databases button on the Advanced Search screen.

Select a database to search and choose WorldCat only:

Next, enter search terms. You will want to search for the name of the person as a subject since the book will be about that person. To do this, change the first drop down box to Subject and then type in the name of the person the book is about:

You will now want to narrow your search so that you only retrieve a list of books in our library. Do this by changing the Library option to Hope International University and change the Format option to Book:
You are almost there! Click the Search button and look at the results!

But what if the HIU Library has no biographies on the subject desired???
Change the Library option to California State University, Fullerton to search the CSUF catalog.

NOTE: HIU students, staff and faculty will need a letter from either Nicky or one of the Librarians before checking out books at CSUF.

2. Search one of our Reference resources like:

Oxford Reference Online
Encyclopedia Britannica

Go to the Library home page at http://library.hiu.edu

Click the Research Databases tab on the search box in the middle of the screen:

Choose Reference Resources from the Select a Subject Area drop down list:

Select one of the above mentioned resources from the Reference Resources page and then search for information on the subject:

These are just a few suggestions to help get you started. If you have questions about this blog post or need additional help, Contact a Librarian at HIU.
Terri Bogan is Reference & Instruction Librarian at Hope International University. She is passionate about helping students navigate the ever expanding world of information. She specializes in the area of information literacy and instructional design.

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