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Biography: Web Search

Finding information about people

Web Searching

Searching on the web for a name is easy, if the person is well-known and the name is unique enough. But what if you get a lot of results and they aren't really about the person? Or you don't find anything about the person on the open web? Or if you don't know the names, but you want to identify people in a specific category? The Library Databases are your best bet, but if you don't have access to them, the open websites listed here can also be helpful.

Open Websites

Search Tips

  • Try putting quotes around the name. "John Smith" will find the name "John" right next to the name "Smith." Without the quotes, you might find a web page or article that mentions John Adams and Shawna Smith but not John Smith. 
  • Some sources will include the names inverted (last name first): search for "Smith, John" as well as "John Smith." 
  • Add more key words to identify the person, especially if they have a common name. For example, add their occupation or other words that describe why the person is known, or include a country or other location.
  • Try a more specialized resource, such as a library database or a book with a focus on a subject that might include the person. In a book, check the index in the back for the person's name.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000