Biography in Context


Biography in Context is an online portal that directs searchers to more than 600,000 resources on more than half a million notable individuals. What sets it apart from its previous incarnation as Gale’s Biography Resource Center, and other biographical databases, is that in addition to standard resources, such as the Encyclopedia of World Biography and American History magazine, researchers are also linked to current news articles and contemporary works that reflect the evolving impact of individuals on history and popular culture. Sorted results yield not only standard references but also articles from the New York Times, People, and Entertainment Weekly; podcasts from All Things Considered and Morning Edition; advertisements; video clips; photos; and so on.

As with most Gale products, Biography in Context was designed with students in mind. Content can be accessed by searching by:

  • Name
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Place of Birth
  • Place of Death.

A disambiguation feature lists variations and delineates individuals with similar names to speed results and ensure accuracy. Fact boxes and general overviews are provided for some subjects, and Related Topics identify contemporaries, colleagues, or individuals of comparable achievement. Search results sort hits according to content type: reference, images, news, magazines, academic journals, audio, or whatever. Some hits are identified as Expert Picks to help students sort through choices. Students can elect to bookmark; download (either HTML or PDF); share (via Delicious, Reddit, Facebook, Diigo, StumbleUpon, etc.); cite (MLA or APA); e-mail; print; translate to another language; or save to online storage.

Researchers can be very specific (the Person Search allows limiting by occupation, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or range of birth or death dates; Advanced Search options include limiting to full-text articles or peer-reviewed journals, specific publication dates, document type, content type, content level, or even Lexile range). Searchers looking for inspiration can elect to browse selected categories (for example, Actors, Environmentalists, Inventors, LGBT Individuals, Nobel Peace Prize Winners) or people (celebrities and generally popular subjects alphabetized by their first names: Condoleezza Rice, Mark Twain, Princess Diana, etc.). The selected content is designed to support standard school assignments in addition to personal interests.

Best of all this resource along with all Gale databases the Library subscribes to are available on your iPhone!  Just download the app Access My Library.

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