1. If you need basic facts about a person, e.g., "When was Napoleon born?", check general encyclopedias, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Canadian Encyclopedia.
2. If you are unable to find simple biographical information in general encyclopedias, or you need more information than provided, check one of the specialized biographical reference books listed on this page.
3. For highly detailed information, search OMNI on the library's homepage for books on the person. Here are some suggested searches:
- Biography AND canada
- Albert Einstein AND biography
- Economists AND biography
- Artists AND biography
- Women AND biography
4. It is important to remember that biographical information may not be available for all individuals. In these cases, information about an author can sometimes be found by checking the preface or introduction of an author's work for scholarly background and academic achievements. Perform an author search in OMNI by typing in the last name followed by the first name.
Databases | General and International Biography | Canadian Biography | Historical | Women | Arts and Humanities | Social Sciences | Science and Engineering | Obituaries | Autobiography, Nicknames, Eponyms, Pseudonyms | eBooks | Quotations | Websites
- CPI.Q - for Canadian subjects
- Gale Literature
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - for British subjects
- Nexis Uni - Includes the Who's Who books.
Specialized Biographical Reference Books
- Encyclopedia of World Biography (1998-2007)
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography For Canadian subjects who died before 1930.
- The Ancient World: Dictionary of World Biography, Vol 1
- Biography and the Black Atlantic
- Dictionary of Contemporary World History From 1900 to the Present Day
- Who's Who in the Classical World
- Rise of the Medieval World, 500-1300: A Biographical Dictionary
- Renaissance and Reformation, 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary
- The Routledge encyclopedia of Civil War era biographies
- Who's who in contemporary gay and lesbian history from World War II to the present day
- Concise Dictionary of Women Artists
- A Historical Dictionary of British Women
- Native American Women a Biographical Dictionary
- Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Women's Biography
- Women, a Modern Political Dictionary
- Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online
- Grove Art Online (aka Oxford Art Online)
- Literary Biography: An Introduction
- Writing lives : biography and textuality, identity and representation in early modern England
- Oxford Music Online
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy and Philosophers
- Economic Thinkers: A Biographical Encyclopedia
- Fifty Key Thinkers in Psychology
- Government Leaders, Military Rulers, and Political Activists
- International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Oxford Dictionary of Political Biography Who's Who in Twentieth-Century World Politics
- Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Modern Political Biography
- Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography
- Scientists, mathematicians, and inventors lives and legacies : an encyclopedia of people who changed the world
- Who's Who in Science and Engineering
Note: When a famous person dies, newspapers treat the event as a news story and you can find these by searching in our full-text newspaper databases. Regular obituaries or death notice are considered paid advertisements and are therefore not included.
Some historical news databases have obituaries for non-famous people as well as famous ones.
Tip: whether you are searching for a famous person or a not famous person, it would be easiest to find the obituary if you have the date of death or even the month or year of death.
- New Dictionary of Eponyms
- The Memoir and the Memoirist Reading and Writing Personal Narrative
- On Life-Writing
Do a search for "biography" in the following eBook sources
- Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
- Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
- Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations
- Oxford Essential Quotations
- Academy of Achievement (U.S)
- Australian Dictionary of Biography
- BBC History: Historical Figures
- Biographies of Women Mathematicians
- Biography and People (Library and Archives Canada)
- Black Past
- Collective Biographies of Women (University of Virginia)
- Encyclopedia of World Biography
- National Women's History Museum Biographies
- Nobel Prize
- Presidents of the United States
- Welsh Biography Online
- Who Knew Whom - Maps relationships and connections between "culturally-significant" individuals.