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HIS 101: Biography Sources

Smart Browsing the Reference Section

The reference shelves contain books with general biographical information. These offer brief entries with just the basic information about the subject, answering the questions "who-what-where-when-why." As the entries are short, you'll scan them or use them in the library instead of checking them out.

To begin, go to the reference shelves. These books are arranged alphabetically by call number (the white spine labels). Find the books labeled "CT 103." (Photo from West Campus Library).

General Reference Books on Stacks 


Smart library users go beyond the general biographies, using subject-specific encyclopedias to find more in-depth information for their projects. These books frequently come in sets containing multiple volumes, organized around a theme such as common ancestry, occupation, or era.

Subject-Specific Reference Books


Did you know?

Last volume in set is an indexCategory IndexThe last volume in the series typically contains an index. Use it to find out which volumes and page numbers are relevant to your subject. There may be more than one relevant entry, so be thorough.

If the reference book does not have an index, check the front of the book for a table of contents or list of entries. Most editors organize the entries alphabetically, but a few will organize them chronologically or thematically.