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General Biographical Sources

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Guides for all Countries

In addition to the sources listed below, one should be aware of various biographical tools that are available online [to U of I patrons only] as part of the online reference collection such as Biography and Genealogy Master Index and Biography Reference Bank. These sources may contain information/citations about more notable figures from the Slavic and East European regions.

Index bio-bibliographicus notorum hominum. (IBN) Pars C. Corpus alphabeticus. I. Sectio generalis.

Osnabruck:  Felix Dietrich Verlag, 1976-  .
U of I Library Call Number:  Main Reference 016.92 IN2I

Entry on I.A. BuninThis is a project emanating from Germany. We like to call it the megalomania project because it is so grandiose in scale. It lists famous people from all countries and all historical time periods. It is so large that 116 volumes have been published and it only covers up through the letter H. What you can find in the IBN are birth and death dates and places, a brief statement of occupation and a list of biographical sources in which information on or portraits of a person are published. Arranged alphabetically by surname, this set provides citations to entries from over 6000 biographical sources. Each entry begins with name and known pseudonyms, birth and death dates, places of birth and death, and a brief description of the occupation of the person. Then there are numerical entries that refer to the biographical reference book that contains an entry on or portrait of that person.

Vols 1-116 plus several supplemental volumes cover names from A-Hyz. Pars B of the set comprises 2 volumes of bibliographical entries arranged in numerical order for biographical source materials used in the compilation of the IBN. They are shelved at the beginning of the IBN in the Main Reference room. See the entry above on I.A. Bunin. Note that some entries contain numbers in parentheses after the source number such as 5953 (8). This means that the entry on Bunin can be found in the eighth volume of source 5953 which is the Enciclopedia italiana …

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Biographical dictionaries and related works : an international bibliography of more than 16,000 collective biographies 

Slocum, Robert B. ed. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1986. 2 vols.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies General Slavic Reference Q.016.92 Sl5b 1986 v.1, v.2

The entry on Medicine - SlovakiaThis next general source is somewhat different in nature from the IBN because it organizes citations and annotations of biographical sources by subject and region without indexing the individual entries of those sources. In other words, it helps you figure out which books you should check for a particular topic. Thus, it is an excellent way to get an overview of what kinds of biographical reference books have been published for a particular country. Volume 1 contains a regional grouping of annotations for biographical sources. Each country section begins with works that index other biographical sources for that country, like a bibliography of bibliographies or a guide to the resources. The next section describes pseudonym dictionaries for that country. The third section is the main section because it lists all of the other biographical sources for the country that the compiler chose to include.  Volume 2, on the other hand, contains a discipline or subject organization for the biographical dictionaries. For e.g., under the discipline of Medicine you will find first a listing of general biographical works on medicine and then more narrow subjects such as medicine by region. See the entry below that falls under Medicine – Slovakia. The annotations are in English, but the sources described for the most part are not. Unfortunately, it has not been updated since 1986.

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Slavic studies: A guide to bibliographies, encyclopedias, and handbooks.

Murlin Croucher, ed. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1993. 2 vols.
U of I Library Call Number:  International & Area Studies General Slavic Reference Q.016.947 Sl16 v.1, v.2

Sample entry from the section on CzechoslovakiaThis set briefly annotates basic reference sources in the field of Slavic studies with some biographical sources covered for most areas.Volume 1 of this set contains entries for Area Studies, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Volume 2 contains entries for the Soviet Union, Former Yugoslavia and some general resources. Although the subject arrangement within each area is cumbersome, biographical and bio-bibliographical sources are grouped together. Consult the index at the beginning of each country section for quicker maneuvering. Below is a sample entry from the section on Czechoslovakia. For another annotation of this source go to the General Bibliographies of Bibliographies page.

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A sample entry

ARBA guide to biographical dictionaries.

Bohdan S. Wynar, ed. Littleton, CO:  Libraries Unlimited, 1986. 444p.
U of I Library Call Number:  Oak Street 016.92 AR16

ARBA guide to biographical resources, 1986-1997.
Robert L. Wick and Terry Ann Mood, eds. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. 604 p.
U of I Library Call Number:  Main Reference 016.92 AR161

A source similar to the Biographical dictionaries and related works described above is the ARBA guide and its update volume for 1986-1997. The difference is that ARBA contains references and annotations to English-language only materials. Slavic related items appear under many of the various discipline headings. ARBA stands for American Reference Books Annual and these two volumes contain annotations about English language sources for biographical information. They are arranged by disciplines with regional items possibly appearing under any discipline. Because it is restricted to English-language materials only, this guide is of limited use for Slavic. The annotations are quite detailed. See the entry above which is located in the 1986-1997 update in the Ethnic Studies section.

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The entry for Julian Marchlewski

Bibliographien zum Schrifttum aus und uber Osteuropa. Katalog des Bibliographischen Lesesaales der Bibliothek des Osteuropa-Instituts Berlin.

Peter Bruhn; Volkhard Thiede, eds. Munchen: Omnia Mikrofilmtechnik GmbH, 1992. 648 p.
U of I Library Call Number:  International & Area Studies General Slavic Reference F.015.47 F882b

With just a little knowledge of German you can use this source for finding biographical resources. It is divided into several sections, the first of which is Eastern Europe in general, then Russia/Soviet Union, then each of the countries in our field including Turkey and Greece. Within each country section there are subsections for various disciplines such as literature, the arts, and a subsection important to biographical research – Personalbibliographien. This section, which contains entries for bibliographies about individuals, appears for all of the countries. The entries are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the subject of the bibliography. Access to the entries in this source is only through the table of contents which points you to the page where a particular section begins. There are no additional indexes. See the entry to the right for Julian Marchlewski. For another annotation of this source  go to the General Bibliographies of Bibliographies page.