One of the questions we get asked frequently in the library is for help finding biographies or other reference information. This past month, we had an entire class that was searching for biographies of mathematicians. We thought that we’d walk you through the process we used to find them!
Did you know that EU students have access to reference resources like encyclopedias and dictionaries through the library databases?
Credo Reference and eLibrary (not to be confused with eBrary) include excellent reference resources. Both are located within the LIRN database. After logging in to the Library Splash Page, click on the LIRN link located in the blue box under the heading “Everglades University Databases”. One inside LIRN, you can either click on “Connect to Credo Reference” or “Connect to eLibrary” to reach either database.
Within Credo Reference, you can simply search by the name of the person you wish to learn more about. For example, if you wanted to search for the mathematician Isaac Newton, you could simply type his name into the search box. Doing so will bring you back over 1,000 results. If you wanted to narrow down your search further, we suggest clicking on the link marked Biography under Entry Type on the left hand side of the page. From there, you can choose either “Long Biography” or “Short Biography”. Additionally, the first result is the Topic Page for Isaac Newton. Clicking on this will take you to an overview of the subject with included definitions, references, pictures, articles and related topics.
In eLibrary, you have the option of doing a basic search, advanced search, or reference search. Since Isaac Newton has so much material written on him, we can safely do a basic search using only his name. However, if you had a more obscure or complex topic, you might want to explore the advanced search option. The first result is a dynamic overview page that not only includes a brief biography, but also links to a gallery of images, articles related to Newton’s Life and Legacy (this would be a good place to look for biography information), a Learn More section that includes links to various reputable web resources, and finally, a list of related topics. In Newton’s case these include Physics, Gravity, Calculus, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and Mathematicians and Scientists. This would be a great place to go to further your knowledge or research.
You could also search for the terms: “mathematician”, in either Credo Reference or eLibrary, if you’re unsure of which mathematician you would like to learn more about. This will require to do a bit of sorting, but will also provide you with many materials that give an overview on how the study of math and science have developed.