Dr. Laura L. Runge Office: CPR 301J/ 813-974-9496
Spring 2005 email: email@example.com
LIB 620A Tuesday 3-5:50 PM
Mar. 22 Altick, Chs. 4 & 5, appropriate Harner
References: Biographies (inc. Dictionary of National Bibliography, GaleNet LRC)
Our readings for today emphasize the how-to’s of research. Because the material is mostly factual, there is little opening for discussion. Feel free to come up with something original, but in the absence of query, I would suggest discussing your own researches. Or, you can analyze the biographical references.
Finding Materials walks you through the stages of an ambitious research project, and so provides an ideal map for your own project in this class.
Where will you begin your search?
How will you delimit your project and what will be the shape of your bibliographic plan?
(Remember finding the materials is only the first stage of the project. You still have to read and evaluate the resources, and then create your essay or your textual history.)
Why should you not rely solely on computer generated bibliographies? Can you think of any problems?
Chapter Five: Libraries
Take seriously the description of these wonderful world-class libraries. While they may seem remote to you now, at some point in your career (even advanced student) you may find yourself consulting them. I have worked in a handful of these libraries, and some I managed to visit while still writing my dissertation.
REF/CT/773/D5 – incl. suppls. through 1990
To get in, you must be British, colonial British, or adopted British, prominent in your field, and dead. (See “A Statistical Account,” Vol. I, pp. lxi and following.) The main 21 volumes and the first supplement are the commonly available reprint of the 66-volume set originally published between 1885 and 1901. (One of the editors was Sir Leslie Stephen, father of Virginia Woolf.)
Note: the New Dictionary of National Biography is now available through Oxford UP, with over 50,000 entries. For more information, see their website: http://www.oup.co.uk/newdnb/. See also the website for Oxford online materials: http://www.oup.com/online/#odnb .
Note: The Concise Dictionary of National Biography, a spinoff of the same set, includes all the names in the regular volumes but gives minimal information. It is of little use in an academic library. There is also a Dictionary of American Biography (begun in the 1920’s), although it is not in USF’s main library except in concise form. An excellent alternative source for American biography is The National Cyclopedia of American Biography (REF/CT/213/N3). We have this and its supplements, issued 1891 through 1984, with a comprehensive, detailed index published in the latter year.
GaleNet Databases Literature Resource Center (LRC), online database complex.
Access “GaleNet Databases” under G in the alphabetical database list. Then, from the resulting list of collections, select Literature Resource Center. We will be concerned primarily with the LRC proper, an impressive current periodical database, that also incorporates several of Gale’s massive reference series.
Note: The component Gale Literary Index is a useful key to Gale’s many prolific and highly useful reference serial digests of criticism and distillations of literary biocriticism. Some of the most notable are: Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Poetry Criticism, Drama Criticism, Short Story Criticism. (For a complete list of titles, see the GLI Help screen.) Keep in mind, however, that helpful as these kinds of sources are, they are a quick-fix resort, and not to be cited as a top-flight scholarly reference. I think of them as signposts directing you toward more significant work.
The Dictionary of Literary Biography is also available through the LRC, and this is a useful reference. Evaluate this separately. Note that the print versions are available at USF in reference (at least they used to be), and are catalogued under the title of the serial volume. For example, you will find Afro-American Writers 1940-1955, ed. by Trudier Harris, PS 221. D5 volume 76. USF library lists over 400 titles in this series. The volumes are organized by genre and time period and there is no complete index of authors (you will find certain authors in more than one volume; e.g. Daniel Defoe is in volumes 39, 95, and 101 for novels, poetry and prose writings respectively). Therefore it is far easier to get access to DLB entries by searching the LRC database under biographies.
In GaleNet: Biography Resource Center + The Complete Marquis Who’s Who
Another “collection” selection from the main GaleNet Databases screen. Global. Links the Gale literary database complex and a standard wide-ranging directory of lesser noteworthy mortals with biographical periodical resources treating people in every walk of life, without national or chronological limitations.
Biography Index online
Produced by the old reliable H.W. Wilson Co., this is another of the numerous databases accessible through Wilson Web. Accesses sources in a wide range of formats – a characteristic strength of the Wilson & Co. indexes. Take a brief look at the hardbound version (REF/CT/210/.B56) to note the unusual “Index to Professions and Occupations” in the back of each volume.
If you are tracking down someone less than illustrious, the following may be of use: the National Faculty Directory (REF/L901/.N34+); or one of the membership directories in the online Gale’s Ready Reference Shelf Directories in Print and Association Unlimited, providing online listings for approximately 166,000 international and U.S. nonprofit membership organizations in every field.