Online Biographies

It happens fairly often, students and their parents come to us in search of “library resources” on a particular topic or person. Currently, one of the topics is biographies on people involved with the American Revolution. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult getting materials into the hands of students as quickly as they need or want it; it is made even more difficult when students in multiple classrooms are looking for the same information. When the availability of books is low or when an article also must be used, the library’s databases or “eResources” can be a saving grace. Last week I guided a mother and her daughter to Biography in Context.

Depending on how an assignment is written sometimes the meaning of “library resource” is unclear or misunderstood by parents. It can mean a book or a hard copy of an article. Often it is used to differentiate between library resources and Internet resources. It can be confusing when a library database is used; having found it on a computer makes it seem like it might fall into the “Internet” category. However, the information found through a library database is accurate and reliable and is, indeed, a proper library resource. It often meets the standard or authority for which a teacher is looking compared to a general Internet search or a search using Google or Wikipedia. If you are unsure of what the teacher wants, I would encourage you to ask, especially if you are struggling to find resources or are short on time.

Biography in Context offers articles, images, and even videos of over 700,000 people. The range includes historical figures and people who are currently in the news. There are a variety of search options including name, occupation, nationality, birth and death dates. The site provides topics such as Scientists, Contemporary World Leaders, Poets, and Notable Women.

You can access Biography in Context from any branch library or from home. From home you will need to enter your library card number. If you do not have a library account, applying for a library card online will allow you to access our eResources immediately, even before you are able to go to a library in person for your permanent, full-access card.

While you’re visiting Biography in Context, browse through our entire Research & Learning A-Z list. You’ll likely find a useful topic that you didn’t know we have.

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