For this class, you need to find three types of materials: items written by your author (primary sources), biographies of your author, and contextual material, that is, items that describe the time and place for your author. You can find all three kinds of materials through the library website, but the way you'll search for the items will be a little different, depending on which item you are looking for and your author.
Most authors in this class have written books, or written items that are included in books. Searching the library catalog for books or e-books is going to be a good first step.
For more recent authors, searching the Internet for their works may be a good strategy.
To find biographies of your author, search using your author's name and a term like "biography."
Biographies can be different lengths. You may find good biographical information in a short encyclopedia article, or in a full length book. Both of those kinds of items can be found in the library catalog. Journal articles are less likely to have biographical information, and databases are more likely to give reviews of biographies, not the full biography. So try searching in the library catalog first, and avoid databases unless the catalog doesn't turn up anything. Note that for encyclopedias or other books where your author is only in one section, you can request that the chapter or section be scanned using our Chapter Scan Form.
Contextual materials can come in a variety of formats. Documentaries, journal articles, and book chapters are all useful when looking for information about the time and place of your author.
Consider searching for contextual materials after you find primary sources and at least one biography, and after you read or skim them. The biographical material will give you some ideas about keywords to use when searching. Useful keywords can include:
Use a combination of keywords from these categories to get a general history of the time and place of your author.