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Ready Reference

Ready reference sources provide quick and general information, and are consulted for factual, definitive answers. These include dictionaries, encyclopedia, directories, handbooks, almanacs, biographies, as well as geographic information sources.

Specialized Databases

Biographies of Authors and Literary Figures

Contemporary Authors - Provides selected biographical and bibliographical information on U.S. and international authors of journals, novels, poetry, and scripts from the early 20th century to the present.

Dictionary of Literary Biography - Provides more than 16,000 biographical and critical essays on the lives, works, and careers of the world's most influential literary figures from all eras and genres.

Literary Reference Center (LRC) - A full-text database with plot summaries, synopses and work overviews, articles and essays of literary criticisms, author biographies and in-depth bios, book reviews, classic and contemporary poems, classic and contemporary short stories, and others.

Literature Resource Center
- Contains thousands of selected full text critical essays, articles, reviews, poems, short stories and plays. It links to thousands of authoritative web sites, NPR broadcasts; work overviews; biographical essays on authors; author portraits; and definitions of literary terms. 


Artist biographies master index   Ref. N40 .A78 1986
Biography and genealogy master index Ref. Z 5305 .U5 B56
Cambridge biographical dictionary  Ref. CT 103 .C4 1990
Contemporary authors autobiography series Ref.  Z 1224 .C76
Notable American women : the modern period : a biographical dictionary  Ref. CT 3260 .N573
Who’s Who in America Ref. E 176 .W4
Women scientists from antiquity to the present : an index : an international reference listing and biographical directory of some notable women scientists from ancient to modern times  Ref. Q141 .H475 1986



Internet Resources

refdesk Biography/Who's Who – Provides links to biographical information, arranged by category such as popes, classical composers, world leaders, inventors and scientists, and others. - A source for biographies about notable people- world leaders, historical figures, authors, celebrities, people in the news, and others through a narrative profile and video presentation, and arranged by caterogy such as best known for, life events, nationality, and date. - Biography - Contains biographies by category such as arts and entertainment, politics and government, science and technology, famous Americans by race and ethnicity,  notable women, and others.
Presidential Bios - Provides biographical sketches and portraits of all the U.S. presidents to date, from the official White House website.

Distinguished Women of Past and Present - Presents biographies of women writers, educators, scientists, heads of state, politicians, civil rights crusaders, artists, entertainers, and other who contributed to our culture in many different ways.

NASA Astronaut Biographies - Features biographical information on astronauts and  members of the space flight crews and candidates for future missions in NASA's space flight program.