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Biography: Home

A list of general biographical resources.

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Before You Start...

Before beginning a search for biographical information on an individual, it will help to determine in which categories the person belongs. What is, or was, the person’s nationality? Occupation? Time period? Is the person deceased or still living? Biographical sources are limited by factors such as these.

There may be other biographical sources including subject-specific sources such as dictionaries of scientists. For assistance, please contact the Info & Research Help Desk. 


Do a subject search in the URI Libraries Search with the last name first: mandela, nelson to see what we have available Search WorldCat for other books located outside of URI.

Web Resources

Select a search tool from the list of Internet Search Tools, or use the links below. Keep in mind that you may retrieve low-quality information, as well as high quality.

Journals or Magazines

The following databases may help you locate magazine and journal articles on the person you're researching.


Use general encyclopedias such as the New Encyclopaedia Britannica, World Book, and Encyclopedia Americana on the Encyclopedias row (A) in the reference area. There are also numerous subject-specific encyclopedias in the reference stacks.


Biographical Dictionaries

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.