How to Use the Dictionary of Literary Biography


In this tutorial we’ll learn how to use
the Dictionary of Literary Biography online, a database of essays on world
literary figures, including playwrights. And to save time I’m going to use the
abbreviation “DLB” for the rest of this video. To get to the DLB, start on the
Allen Library homepage, scroll down to the section labeled Top Theater
Databases. The DLB is listed first; just click on the name to open the database. Once you have it open, searching for a
playwright is really easy. Just type the name in the search field…
so we’ll try Samuel Beckett, and search. Note that sometimes the search results
may not default to biographies. In that case, just make sure to click Biographies
in the right-hand menu. Also note that some playwrights will have more than one
entry, since they may have appeared in multiple volumes in the set. The book
that each entry comes from is shown below the playwrights name, so this one
is from volume 13, this one is from the yearbook, this one’s from
volume 329… The biographies are generally written by
different authors, so it’s good to look at all of them. Then just click on one of
the options to see the biography. This’ll basically show you scans from the print
volumes. You can also view them full- screen by clicking here. These
biographies have a lot of valuable information, including a works list,
which usually comes first, and then the actual biography… and finally at the end there’s a list of
further readings about that playwright. For more help on searching the DLB, exit
the full screen view by pressing escape on your keyboard. Then click the More
link at the top right of any DLB webpage and look in the Help section. These help
pages are different depending on what page you’re coming from.
They’ll clarify how that particular page works and how to do more advanced
searches to find even more information.

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