San Francisco Public Library

Biographical Information Guide

  1. A good starting point is the Biography In Context. This database can be searched or browsed in order to find biographies, articles, images, video and other sources on more than 525,000 people from throughout history and around the world including authors, actors, musicians, political leaders, religious leaders, artists, historic figures and more. In many cases, this will provide the information needed without any further research.
  2. For information about people who are connected with the history of the British Isles, use the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  3. For book-length biographies check the online catalog. Try a subject search for: Last Name, First Name.
  4. For Members of the US Congress information, use Lexis-Nexis Congressional. Choose the Members link to find:
    • committee assignments
    • bills sponsored
    • voting records
    • floor statements
    • campaign finance records
    • financial disclosures
    • other biographical information for members of Congress back to 1997
  5. For musicians, try Oxford Music Online.
  6. For more on authors, try the Literature Resource Center. For children's authors try Something About the Author.
  7. For more on artists, try the Art Full Text database.
  8. Specialized sources on local people are available in the following Library departments:
  9. Finally, if none of these sources contain the biographical information you are looking for, or if you get stuck at any point, ask a reference librarian for further assistance.