Gateway to Information on Authors and Background of Periodicals
Finding Information on Authors and Periodicals
- Look closely within the book itself. Often, biographical information about the author will be found on the end pages, or can be inferred from the preface or introduction.
- Consult the following standard biographical reference sources:
- Biography and Genealogy Master Index
- The Writer's Directory (Knight Reference PS 1 .W73)
- Reviews of a book often include biographical information about the author. Consult Looking for Book Reviews, a guide to the many sources where book reviews can be found.
- Search the author's name on the Web using Google.
- Look closely at the article itself. Often, a biographical note about the writer will be found at the beginning or at the end of the article, or in a section of the issue called "Contributors."
- Go back to the database where you first found the citation to the article. Search under the author's name, using the Author search field. The results will give you an idea of the topics the writer works on, the various publications she writes for, and how long she has been published.
- Search the author's name on the Web. For instance, try a Google search with the author's name in quotes, followed by the name of the magazine that he or she writes for. Example: "John Smith" Newsweek
- Articles in academic journals will give the author's name and their academic affiliation. Example: Margaret Hampton, University of Iowa, Department of Sociology. Go to that university's web site, then to the department web site, and see if it provides a resume or vita of the faculty member.
- Consult the following standard biographical reference source:
- As a last resort, if you have determined that the author of an article is a staff writer for a publication, contact the newspaper or periodical that the author works for (by phone or email) and request biographical information.
What is the readership of a periodical? Does it have a conservative or liberal slant? Who owns the periodical? To answer such questions, try the following:
- Look closely at several issues of the periodical in question. Scan the first few pages of issues for a statement of purpose or the name of the organization that owns the periodical. Look at articles for an indication of a conservative or liberal slant.
- Refer to standard reference works such as Magazines for Libraries (ask for this at the Reference Desk) and Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. Both of these reference sources are also available online through the FindText link that you will find in most of our periodical databases.
- Search in a periodical index such as Business Source Complete. Enter the name of the periodical in the Subject field to retrieve articles on shifts in editorial personnel, ownership, and readership trends.