Reference works -- like encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries -- provide great overviews and background information.
In short, reference works are a great way to begin your research.
Biographies and autobiographies provide insights into individuals' lives and achievements. Biographies come in all shapes and sizes: some offer just factual information (full name, birth and death dates, place of birth, career history, etc.) while others provide more in-depth essays as well as references for further reading.
The sources below contain brief biographies or biographical overviews on individuals. Many also point to other resources about an individual, including related news stories, book-length biographies, and/or author interviews.
Need some context? These are detailed guides to authors, composers, philosophers, genres, various literatures and other fields of study, providing context and analysis for a thorough introduction.