Answered By: Erin Gabrielson
Last Updated: Apr 27, 2016     Views: 251

You can find biographical information in Thoreau, the multi-database search tool, by searching for a person's name. For a more precise search you can add topical keywords.

Here is an example search for information about a person:

1.  On the Library homepage, click the Articles by Topic button.

Screenshot: Link to Articles by Topic page

2.  Scroll down to the Search multiple databases box and click the link for: Thoreau Multi-Database Search 

3.  Type the person's name into the first search box.

Note: You may also want to search for a topical keyword in the second search box. This can help you focus the type of information you find about the person, or it can help you limit your results if you are searching for a name held by several different people.

For example:

First search box:

Eleanor Roosevelt

Second search box:



4.  Click Search. You will see results from books and articles that use the person's name.

Note: If you are searching for someone who has published article or books, you may see results that are about them as well as results that were written by them.



Note about Names:

Searching for the person's full name will typically get the most accurate results, but you will get more results by searching for just the person's last name. Try different name formats and keywords to get the best results.

If the person is commonly known by a modified name or initials, you may want to try using those for your search (e.g. Mother Teresa or J. K. Rowling).

You can search for multiple different forms of the person's name by adding OR between alternative names. This allows the database to look for either form of the name.

First search box:

E. O. Wilson OR Edward O. Wilson


Is this for an assignment? You may want to look at the assignment guide for:


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Do you have other questions about finding biographical information?  Ask a Librarian!

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