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Journal cover: New Library World

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803
Incorporates: Asian Libraries

Online from: 1898

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Where's the bio? Databases, Wikipedia, and the web

Document Information:
Title:Where's the bio? Databases, Wikipedia, and the web
Author(s):Aline Soules, (University Libraries, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California, USA)
Citation:Aline Soules, (2012) "Where's the bio? Databases, Wikipedia, and the web", New Library World, Vol. 113 Iss: 1/2, pp.77 - 89
Keywords:Biography, Biography Reference Bank, Contemporary Authors Online, Literature Resource Center, Online databases, Web, Wikipedia
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/03074801211199068 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This paper aims to compare biographical content for literary authors writing in English among Biography Reference Bank, Contemporary Authors Online, Wikipedia, and the web.

Design/methodology/approach – A sample of 500 names was gathered from curricula and textbooks used in English courses and searched in the Contemporary Authors Online portion of Literature Resource Center, Biography Reference Bank, Wikipedia, and the web; the results and content were compared.

Findings – Each source has core content plus its own unique offerings and specific challenges, as evidenced in searching, evaluative techniques such as authority and currency, and content.

Research limitations/implications – This study can only offer a small part of the picture of what information resides where and a single snapshot in time.

Practical implications – This study will help librarians decide whether to subscribe to a biographical database. It also reinforces the need for evidence-based practice in librarianship.

Originality/value – While the study is only a small part of the picture, it still makes use of a significant sample size to validate/refute assumptions about the availability of biographical information and the sources studied.

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