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Historical Figure: Overview


This guide will help you locate information on the historical figure of your choice using:

  • Walden Library databases
  • encyclopedias and handbooks
  • Walden Library books
  • the Internet
  • local libraries

Search databases

1. From the Library home page select Databases A-Z.

2. On the right side of the page, Click the Thoreau link under Multiple Database Searches. You can also click on the T in the alphabetical list to find Thoreau.

Note: Typically you will select the subject area that most closely matches your subject. In this case it is possible that the historical figures in the list may show up in different subject areas, therefore Thoreau will be a better choice.

3. Enter the name of the person you selected in the first search box.

4. Change the drop-down to SU Subject Terms.

Image of a search box with the name Grace Abbott in the first search box


5. Click Search.

6. Click PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text to view the full text.

Note: You may see a Find at Walden button. If you click this the database will check to see if the full text is available elsewhere in the Library. If the full text is available you will be taken to the full text.


Search encyclopedias & handbooks

1. From the Library home page, select More Resources

2. In the box Search by Type, click on Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. Then, click on Encyclopedias & Handbooks. 

3. Click SAGE Knowledge. 

4. Enter the name of your selected person in the search box and click the magnifying glass image to search.



5. If there is an encyclopedia entry on your selected person you will see their name displayed as a title. You can read the encyclopedia article by clicking on the name.


Find books in the Walden Library

1. From the Library home page select Books.


2. Click on the Go to book search link.



3. Change Keyword to Subject by clicking the down arrow and choosing Subject from the drop-down.


4. Enter the name of the person you selected and click Go.

Note: If you do not find books about your selected person in the Walden Library you may need to see the section below for information on how to Search Local Libraries.


5.  If you locate a book you are interested in click the link Click here for full text to access the book

Note: Depending on where the book is located, you may be taken directly to the book or you may need to click on the provided database link.

Search the Internet

You may find that searching the Internet is the best way to locate information about the individual that you have chosen. Much of the information that you find on the Internet is not going to be scholarly in nature so you will need to evaluate the sources to be sure that they are credible.

View the following link to learn more about evaluating resources.

Search local libraries

Not every library is able to contain everything and you will find that some materials do not exist in a digital format. Don't forget that you can use your local libraries in addition to the Walden Library. 

You can use WorldCat, a global catalog, to search for books about the individual you have chosen. The following link will show you how to look up information and how to determine if an item is at a library near you.

Assess your knowledge

Did you need to search in multiple locations to find information on your selected person? Which do you feel provided the best information and why?

If you found a source on the Internet, how were you able to verify its credibility?