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Research Guides

Database Tutorials

Biography in Context


Basic Search

If you're just looking to browse articles on your topic without much concern for specificity, you may want to use the Basic Search function, which is on the Biography in Context (BIC) homepage. When you get to BIC, the homepage will look like this:

BIC Homepage screenshot

Type in your keyword(s) into the search box at the top of the page (outlined in red). As you start typing, a dropdown menu will appear with suggested terms. You can either click on a term that is relevant, or type out what you'd like to search for in full. 

Hit Enter on your keyboard, or click the magnifying glass to the right to see your results.


Advanced Search

In advanced searching, you are given more ability to pinpoint exactly the kinds of articles you would like to see in your results.

To get to Advanced Searching, find the magnifying glass with the plus sign (+) that says "Advanced" directly to the right of the search box at the top of the page (this will be there regardless of where you have navigated in BIC). This is what the advanced search page looks like:

BIC Advanced Search screenshot


  • In order to search by author’s nametitlesubject term, etc., use the dropdown menu by the search box to select the appropriate field.
    • If you do not choose an option from this menu, the database will automatically search your first term in title, author, subjects, and beginning text. It will search your second term in the title only. And it will search your third term as the Publication title. 
    • You can change these at any time before you run your search.
  • To broaden or narrow your search results, use the ‘AND’ dropdown menus before the 2nd and 3rd text boxes
    • There will be three options: AND (which is automatically chosen), OR, & NOT
    • AND: will only display results that include both/all the search terms
    • OR: will display all results with either/any of the search terms
    • NOT: will display results with the previous search terms, but will leave out results that include the following search term
  • If you need more than the three provided text boxes for search terms, click the "Add a Row" button (above the blue Search button) and use as normal
  • More Options are automatically displayed
    • You can limit by date of publication, content typelanguage, publication title, document type, language, and target audience.
    • Use the dropdown menus under each header to select what you'd like to search. (Or, in the case of the document type, you can also choose to exclude these options)
    • Check the boxes or click the options in the lists that you would like to limit by
  • When you are ready, click the blue "Search" button
Searching Tips!
  • Not sure which word ending to use?
    • Attach an * to the base of your term, and the database will search for words that start with that string of letter, regardless of what the ending is.
    • Example: searching for poli* will pull results for policy, politics, political, politicians, etc.
    • You can see up above that I used one at the end of "feminis*" so I would get results for both "feminist" and "feminism", but not things like "feminine", which is missing the "s".
  • Want to search for an entire phrase? 
    • Surround your phrase with " ", and the database will search for those words in that order without anything in between
    • Example: "critical feminist theory" will return results JUST with those exact words in that exact order. So you won't get results that are something along the lines of "Feminists are critical of X theory".


Person Search

BIC also gives you the option to search for a particular person, or a certain group of people. If you use this method, the only results that will appear will be results that are about that person(s) you've searched for. You can get to the Person Search by clicking the "Person Search" link directly below the main search box at the top of the page (this will always be there), or by selecting the correct tab at the top of the Advanced Search. The search looks like this:

BIC Person Search screenshot

If you know exactly who you'd like to search for, start typing their name into the search box at the top of the page. A dropdown menu will appear once you start typing with suggested terms. It's probably best to select from this list when you see the author you're interested in, as these are formatted the way LRC knows and will probably retrieve better/more results.

If you're just looking to search for a particular group of people, or don't remember the name of the person you actually want to search for, use the boxes below to specify other characteristics:

  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Ethnicity
  • Occupation
  • Literary Movement
  • Genre
  • Subject/Theme
  • Place of Birth/Death
  • Dates of Birth/Death
  • Century

Once you're ready to search, click the blue search button.

Reading Results and Articles

Reading Results and Articles


Results pages vary in BIC, but if you've searched for someone of relative importance or notoriety, like Robert Capa below, your screen will look something like this:

BIC Person Result Screenshot


At the top of the page are some quick facts about the person - dates, a photo, the beginning of a biography.

On the right side of the page is a list of all the documents about that person by type: biography, photo, audio, video, news articles, websites, magazine articles, etc. This list will change depending on what is available for that person.

The rest of the page is separated by those content type categories with a previews of 3 articles of each kind. To see all the documents, click on the title of the content type you wish to look at.

To see a document in full, click on its title.



All of the articles in our Gale databases are full-text, so you don't have to worry about using Interlibrary Loan here! To read the full article, click on the blue linked title. You page will look like this:

BIC Article screenshot


To download this article:

  • Cick the "Download" button in the right column
  • Choose either an HTML text file or a PDF file (a small box will appear in the center of your screen)
  • Click "Download" in the bottom left

To email, print, share, or send to a Google Drive or Microsoft Cloud, use the labeled links on the right side of the page.

The title is in large, bolded letters at the top of the page, followed by citation information like author, journal/publication, volume, date published, page numbers. Copyright information is also in this part of the page.

Below the citation information are quick facts provided by the article, and then the full article itself.


To translate the article into another language, use the dropdown menu that says "Translate Article" at the bottom right of the page, then select the language you would like to read it in.

To see related and relevant subjects, click on the plus sign (+) in the bottom right corner next to Related Subjects. Click on any of these terms to run a new search for articles that share that term as a subject.

Citing an Article

To cite an article, you must be looking at the full information/article. On the right is a "Tools" box, and the very first link will be called "Citation Tools". Click this button, and a box will appear on your page that looks like this:

LRC Citation screenshot


Choose your citation style from the dropdown menu at the top left - you can choose from MLA, APA, or Chicago. The box will automatically refresh after you choose an option to display the correct format.

Click the blue "Select" button to highlight the entire citation - you can then copy and paste it into your document.

Or, click the gray "Download" button to download the text as html.

Or, if you use citation managers, you can export this information using the dropdown menu and "Export" button in the bottom left.


NOTE: Double check the citation to make sure the information and formatting is correct!!! Our databases pull information automatically from places it thinks the information should be and may not be able to format it correctly. Always always check the citation given to you by the database against the regulations given in the respective handbook for your citation style.

If you have any questions about citing sources, you can check out our Research Guide on the topic.

More Help from Gale: