Skip to Main Content

Literature Research for Undergraduate Students

Helpful information about finding biographical and background information about a text, critical scholarship, and primary source research.

What is Reference?

What is reference?

Reference resources refer to the item we are examining. They are typically wayfinding tools which provide vital information about accessing, identifying, and citing the materials we are researching. 


Examples of Reference resources:

  • Dictionary: provides brief definitions (i.e. Webster's Dictionary), translation (i.e. French to English Dictionary), or  even history of context (Oxford English Dictionary). There are also examples of dictionaries, such as the Dictionary of Literary Biography, where the entry is a biographical overview of an author.
  • Encyclopedia: provides brief summaries of topics and are used as a way to collect background information. 
  • Bibliography: are a kind of index that provides an inventory of items by theme (i.e. all scholarly articles published about Charles Dickens in the 2000s). Bibliographies are often lists of items that are not necessarily held in a specific collection, and don't include information about location of items in the list.
  • Index: a complete list of items in a certain category or a certain location. This type of resource often gives location information.
  • Directory: a list of items and where they are located (think of the phone book), not necessarily all in the same place.
  • Catalog: an inventory of a specific collection or group of items

Finding Biographies of Authors

What is Biography?

Biography is an account of a person’s life. They can be short or long; some are only a paragraph or two and recount basic facts like when a person was born and when they died, where they lived. Others are quite long and go into specific details of a person’s accomplishments and experiences.

Why do we need biography?

We can use biography as a possible lens with which to interpret literature. An author’s biography can provide information about what authors are known for, important contributions they have made,

Where do we find biography?

Biography can be found in a variety of places.

Reference Sources

Literary Manuscript Indexes

Discover What The Library Has

How can we help?

Prefer a different contact method?

Try one of these options instead: