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Research Guides

Biography & autobiography


Name indexes

This is a featured list of the library's name indexes.  Use the catalogue to locate more resources.

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)
Biographies on African kings (all countries) > Africa--Kings and rulers--Biography
Biographical resources on northern Africa > Africa, North--Biography
Cameroonian biographies > Cameroon--Biography


How can subject headings help me find biographies?

  • Select subject from the drop-down menu
  • Type in your topic, beginning with Africa/the specific country, biography, and theme (E.G. egypt biography women)
  • Work your way down the list and select the link that covers your topic
    • Tip: you don't need to use capital letters, periods, or dashes as you see in the above examples
    • Tip: search africa biography dictionaries or [specific country] biography dictionaries to find resources that give an overview of significant national figures (E.G. south africa biography dictionaries)
    • Tip: doing a subject search on africa biography is really broad: streamline your results by specifying a topic, country, city, or region

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:

Transliteration tables

Why transliterate?

  • You can search the catalogue for sources in languages that don't use roman scripts (such as Arabic, Inuktitut, etc.)

How do I transliterate?

Robarts Library also has a translation computer, located in the Reference Department on the 4th floor.