There are countless sources for biographical information. This research guide makes no attempt to make an exhaustive list of sources; rather, this guide lists and describes some of the commonly-used general sources.
When using this research guide to find biographical information consider:
- possible name variations
- the type of information you need, i.e. short vital statistics, an article, or book
- If the person is living or dead
- profession, subject, or discipline.
This information will help determine which source is best to use.
Primary biographical sources are sources written by the person you are researching. These first-hand sources can include autobiographies, diaries, letters, speeches, and poems. Primary sources can also include audio recordings, film recordings, or transcripts of interviews in which the person you are researching is the interviewee.
Secondary biographical sources are sources written by someone other than the person you are researching. Secondary sources provide second-hand accounts that analyze, interpret, or comment on a person's life.