News and Events: Archive:

Libraries now offer four new online databases with biographical data

Researchers seeking biographical information on significant historical or contemporary personalities now have access to several comprehensive online resources on the Libraries website: World Biographical Index Online, Current Biography, Marquis Who's Who on the Web, and the Encyclopedia of World Biography. Together, these sources provide information on millions of people.

The largest and most international database is the World Biographical Index (WBI), which provides biographical details on more than 5.24 million people from the 8th century BC onward. It is an index to articles in thousands of biographical sources assembled in the microfiche collections called Biographical Archives. The index identifies individuals' full names, country, profession, birth and death dates, and references for the print and microfiche publications where the articles may be found. Rutgers owns five of the microfiche sets and many of the printed reference books where the articles themselves may be found.

Current Biography features brief biographical profiles, in essay form, about prominent people in politics, science and technology, business, sports & entertainment, and the arts. It is a digital version of Current Biography Yearbook, collecting more than 15,000 biographical profiles plus more than 9000 obituaries into one easily searchable database, covering 1940 to the present. The range of figures includes Madonna, Toni Morrison, Stephen Hawking, and Warren Buffett.

Marquis Who's Who on the Web is the online equivalent of more than 20 standard Who's Who titles, providing brief, directory style information on current figures. Marquis Who's Who on the Web incorporates more than one million biographies from Who's Who in America and its regional volumes; professional volumes like Who's Who in Business and Finance, Who's Who in American Politics and Who's Who in American Art; Who's Who of American Women; plus all 130,000 biographies from Who's Who in American History, with coverage of prominent Americans back to 1607.

Encyclopedia of World Biography offers substantial essays, with bibliographical references, on approximately 7000 prominent figures from all parts of the world, from the beginnings of history to the present--from Sappho to Laura Bush, from Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu) to Nelson Mandela.

Researchers can link to Current Biography, Marquis Who's Who on the Web, and World Biographical Index from the front page of the Libraries website, through the Indexes and Databases page--listed both alphabetically and under the category "General and Multidisciplinary--Biographical."

Researchers can connect to Encyclopedia of World Biography either by searching Library Catalog by title or by going to the Libraries' home page and following the links Find > Find / Electronic Reference Sources > Biography > General.

Posted December 3, 2008