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Research Guides

Biography & autobiography


Find more: search using subject headings

What are subject headings?

  • The vocabulary librarians use to describe and organize items in the collection
  • Subject headings may be different from the natural language used to describe topics:
Natural language Library of Congress subject headings (controlled vocabulary)
Biographical resources on Aboriginal Australians > Australia--Biography. Australian aborigines
New Zealand musician biographies > New Zealand--Biography. Musicians
Oceanic peoples' biographies in New Zealand > New Zealand--Biography. Pacific Islanders


How can subject headings help me find biographies?

  • Select subject from the drop-down menu
  • Work your way down the list of results
    • Tip: you don't need to use capital letters, periods, or dashes as you see in the above examples
    • Tip: search [specific country] biography dictionaries to find resources that give an overview of significant national figures (E.G., australia biography dictionaries)

Hey!  Sometimes the language in LC subject headings is offensive!

Yes.  Library of Congress subject headings can sometimes demonstrate cultural or gender bias.  This is a growing field of research in library & information sciences.  Here's an interesting article on changes in subject headings: