This is the "BOOKS" page of the "BIOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH PAPER" guide.
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Last Updated: Mar 20, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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I. Our Library Catalog

       A. Go to Destiny (

       B. Type your person's full name (watch your spelling!).  DON'T HIT ENTER YET!

       C. Click on the Subject icon.  If nothing comes up, or there are too few results, click on Refine your Search and this time click on the Keyword icon.


Subject is preferred because it will bring up books about your person, instead of just mentioning your person.



By clicking on Refine your Search you will be able to make some changes to your search, without having to start from scratch.  Here we are going to change to a Keyword Search.



Keyword broadens the results for you, because it will bring up books that may not be entirely about your person, but will contain information about your person within.



 II. The Browsing Technique     

If you want to browse the shelves instead of looking in Destiny, there are three ways that will work for this project.

A. You may go to the Biography section.  

Each book has a spine label with a call number on it.  The call numbers all start with B (for Biography).  Under the B there are three letters that stand for the subject of the book (the person the book is about).  These are the three letters that begin hisi/her last name.  For example, for George Washington , the call number would be B WAS.

B.  You may go into the Reference section and look in the REF 920s

n that section, we find Cumulative Biographies (many people within each book).  Use the set index to see if your person may be found within.

C. If you know the person's field of achievement (e.g. President; scientist; musician; etc), you may browse the section of the library where we shelve books in that category. 

For example, Science is in the 500s of both Reference and Non-Fiction.  Or you may browse the history section (900s).  I will help you with finding the section you need.  This can be a very effective way to get pertinent information.



I. Once you have brought up a list of books pertaining to your person, how do you decide which to pursue?  Each book will have a particular scope and purpose. Scan the titles to get a sense of whether they are:

  1. Straight biographies

  2. Autobiographies

  3. About one particular aspect of the person instead of containing broad, general information

  4. About a particular time frame or event in that person's life

  5. Giving a particular point of view about that person 

II. Next, notice the call number, the series, and the format of the book.

  1. Does the call number begin with B (Biography); or is  in the 300s (social science / government); the 900s (Historical); is it Fiction??? You don;t want that.

  2. By looking at the name of the series (if there is one) you can tell if the book is directed at a particular aspect (Great Achievements, for example).

  3. What format is the book?  Is it a Graphic Novel?  Is it a photojournal?  These can help you determine if the book is appropriate.



In order to satisfy the requirements of this assignment...


I.  You need to find the necessary information to answer the questions related to your famous person.

Find a book that includes everything you need to know OR find multiple sources (particularly REFERENCE materials) to help you find the answers to the questilons.

2. You need to read an informational text (non-fiction).

If you found a book that contains all of the information required to answer the questions, let that be your informational text to read.  If you used multiple print sources for the core information, consider choosing an informational text that goes into a related topic to your famous person.  For example: the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemming.

3. You need to organize your information into a written paper.


You may use note cards, a google doc, or I can show you how to use Noodletools to organize everything in one place and help you create your note cards and make your outline.   

4. You will need to cite your sources.

You may use Bib cards or Source cards assigned by the teacher, or you can create your Works Cited list in Noodletools.  I will show you how.

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