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Senior Research and Composition: Biography Project

Helpful links

Encyclopedias and Reference Books / eBooks

Search large collections of ebooks simultaneously in these databases:: Gale Virtual Reference Library, Infobase ebooks, and Salem History (Includes Great Events and Great Lives series). Also: Britannica Academic Online contains the complete Encyclopedia Britannica plus authoritative websites and full-text journal access.


The Library's RhinoCat is an automated catalog of books, DVDs, and other library materials. RhinoCat is available from any browser at and also from your TaftNet homepage. A Keyword search of your subject’s name will yield the most useful results – for example, Abraham Lincoln.

TIP: When you identify a book in RhinoCat that sounds useful, click on Browse shelf in the Call Number field to find additional books for your research project.

Primary Sources

See the course guide Finding Primary Sources for ways to find documents and primary sources in our Library.

Taft Online Subscription Databases

  • Biography in Context Over 500,000 biographies from the ancient world to the present.
  • Modern World History Online Overview essays, biographies, events and topics, primary source documents, timelines, maps and charts, images and videos from the mid-15th century to the present.
  • Oxford Art Online Includes the full text of the 34 volume The Dictionary of Art
  • Oxford Music Online Includes the full text of New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  • US History in Context Comprehensive collection of reference sources, primary documents, periodicals, maps and multimedia
  • World History in Context Comprehensive collection of reference sources, primary documents, periodicals, maps and multimedia
  • For journal articles:
    • Academic Search Complete Access full-text articles in thousands of magazines and journals. Tip: Refine your results list using options in the left sidebar, including full text, date range, source types, and more
    • JSTOR Hundreds of full-text scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, and sciences, many dating back to the 19th century.


  • From Wikipedia's essay on Academic use: "Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic writing or research."  
  • To find reliable websites:
    • Britannica Academic Online Articles include links to reliable websites
    • SweetSearch, A Search Engine for Students searches only credible websites approved by research experts. Note: Ignore first group of results labeled Ad 
    • Limit your search to reliable domains by including the phrase site:gov OR site:edu : .gov for U.S. government agencies and .edu for educational institutions in the U.S.                                                          

*For more information on finding high quality websites, see Find and Evaluate Websites.

Updated 9/2018