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Biographies: Biographical Reference Books (Enyclopedias)

This guide provides an overview of the biographical resources at the BC Library.

What is a Reference Book?

Reference books are used primarily to verify facts and supply background information. Examples of reference books include: encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and almanacs. They are often produced by experts in a particular field are not intended to be read cover-to-cover. They usually have extensive indexes or an alphabetic or chronological arrangement that allows quick access to information.

Reference books can be found in the Reference Collection of the library, which has green labeled shelves. Reference books may not be taken out of the library, but there is no time limit for how long you can use them while you are in the library. See the three boxes below for encyclopedias that might have a biography on the person you are researching.

If you'd rather use an online version of an encyclopedia, use our database of online encyclopedias, Gale Virtual Reference Library! Get started by clicking on the image below and typing in your person's name.

Gale Virtual Reference Library link

African American Biographies

American Biographies

World Biographies