Get Historical Perspective

By Bowen, Charles | Editor & Publisher, September 5, 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Get Historical Perspective


Bowen, Charles, Editor & Publisher


Reporter's Digital How-To

Find important biographies at http://www.s9.com

Biographies are as central to newsroom reference books as encyclopedias and that old, dusty copy of Who's Who in America you've stashed back in the library. But these fine, old printed resources are rather badly name-dependent. In other words, if you know the name of the subject you are researching, you're in tall cotton. However, the old books are less effective when you need to know:

* Who discovered sodium?

* What composer wrote "A Bicycle Built for Two" and when?

* Industrialists associated with the city of Chicago.

* Identities of political contemporaries of Woodrow Wilson.

For these and other tough nuts, turn to the Internet's Biographical Dictionary, where you can delve into more than 25,000 entries, searching not only by name, but also by keyword (such as positions held, professions, and literary and artistic works) and by important dates, including the subject's birth or death. The site also supports sophisticated advanced options for narrowing and broadening a search with Boolean expressions and with wild cards.

* Names of British prime ministers, U.S. cartoonists or the author of Ethan Frome.

To use this electronic reservoir, click on "Search the Dictionary" on the introductory page. The resulting display gives you data entry fields for name, keyword and/or date. Fill in one or more of the fields and click on the "Submit" button. Keep it as simple as possible and the data can be entered in either upper- or lowercase or a combination of the two. Often, a last name is sufficient for finding the bio you need, but if you choose, you can add a first name or initials.

Use the keyword field to search by profession, award, written work, ethnic group, theatrical role, or any other characteristic or distinctions. You can also enter fictional characters to retrieve information about actors who played the role and authors who have written about the characters. You also can enter a word like "nylon" to retrieve information about anyone in the database generally associated with the material.

Regarding the date field, note that dates alone usually produce too many results to be useful, but the field is effective when used in tandem with keywords.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Get Historical Perspective
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?