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Researching Biographical Subjects

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on November 15, 2006 at 1:56:40 pm

1) Find and read the articles and books written by the subject (search LISA and LLIS for complete coverage, but as a short cut search the 200 plus citations on virtual reference at and the 1000 citations at http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/jrichardson/dis220/urt.htm



2) Note the institutional affiliation. Search the online directory for that institution and find additional information re archives (especially any finding aids).


2) If your subject is older and/or deceased, look at the appropriate Who’s Who in Library Service (editions of 1933, 1943, 1966, 1970, 1982, and 1988 which is on a CD-ROM).


3) Check Biography and Geneaology Master Index to find out what other biographical sources have covered your subject.


4) If deceased, check the New York Times Obituary Index and local newspaper indexes.


5) If deceased, check the Social Security Death Index at http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com/


6) If deceased, check the Dictionary of American Library Biography and each of the supplements.


Content and Heading suggestions:


1) Birth and death dates, if known

2) Brief statement positioning their contribution to reference research

3) Educational background

4) Professional details including most salient articles and books

5) Concluding information summarizing their contribution

6) Sources should include other biographical listings; articles or books about the biographee; and the location of any archival or primary source material


John V. Richardson Jr.

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