MONEY & POLITICS
THE RIGHT WING
Sources of Biographical Information
Doing power structure research often entails tracking down
biographical information on individual political and economic
elites. What is their family background? What schools did
they attend? What corporate or governmental positions have they
held? Are they on the boards of major foundations, think
tanks, or policy planning organizations? What exclusive clubs do
they belong to?
Unfortunately, this is one area in which Internet
sources can be very incomplete. Proprietary databases available
through the library are often more helpful. But, in many cases,
there is no alternative to searching the biographical
reference works that are available only in hard copy at the
library. Fortunately, the indexes listed below can make that
library search go much more quickly. Here are some of the better sources
of biographical information that are
Biography). If your person is relatively famous, there
is a good chance of finding a biography in this database. It
includes more than 46,000 biographies and obituaries, mostly taken
from the published volumes of Current Biography. Biographies
are fairly detailed, but many are outdated.
For less famous individuals and more up-to-date information, this is
likely to be the best online source. It contains full text
newspaper and magazine articles, including obituaries, profiles, and
interviews that may provide biographical information. There is
a "Biographical Information" search page under the "Reference" menu, but
be sure to also search the newspaper and magazine
articles under the "General News" option of the "News" menu.
Source. This database provides selected full text for 143
domestic and international newspapers, many of which are not included in
Academic Universe (Lexis-Nexis).
Newspaper. For state and regional elites, try this
database. It provides full text of articles published in the
newspaper from 1987 to the present. Updated daily.
This database provides full text articles from 570 periodicals, including
both popular magazines and professional journals.
Perhaps the best free online database of biographical profiles. The
coverage of corporate and political elites is spotty, unless they
are among the most prominent, but the profiles are generally informative and sometimes provide
information you would not find in a typical Who's Who
biography. The site includes a visual mapping tool for
exploring the connections between people in the database, linking
them together through family relations, corporate boards, political
alliances, and other organizational ties.
This website advertises itself as "an involuntary Facebook of
powerful Americans." It is organized as a wiki in which
much of the information is submitted by users and where links are
provided to other websites that were used as sources or references.
The focus is on political and business leaders and on the social,
organizational, and financial ties among them. The coverage is
uneven but becoming more complete with time.
the 2010 Power Elite in the U.S. This database was
created by Clifford Staples at the University of North Dakota and allows you to search for individual
members of the power elite and their organizational ties.
It includes more than 9,000 persons who serve as directors of
organizations (corporations, foundations, think tanks, universities, governmental advisory committees, and business associations). You
can trace the multiple affiliations of individual directors and the
interlocks that they create between different organizations.
J3 Information Services Insider Lookup. This website
is aimed at investors seeking information on the purchase and sale
of stock by corporate insiders. Entering the name of a person
will provide you with information on their corporate positions,
stock ownership, and recent transactions. Highly recommended.
Search corporate executives and directors by name or by corporate
ticker symbol. Provides biographical profile as well as
detailed information on compensation for recent
- Forbes 400 Richest Americans.
brief biographies of the 400 richest Americans in each of several
Indexes to Library Resources
Genealogy Master Index. This is the place to begin if you want
to do a thorough library search for biographical information.
The Biography and Genealogy Master Index provides citations
to articles in more than 700 biography sources, including the
various years and editions of Who's Who, Biography Index,
Current Biography Yearbook, and other more specialized
sources. Many of the indexed sources can be found in the
reference room of the University of Oregon Library.
- NameBase Index. This unique index provides
citations to the page numbers of books in which persons are
mentioned. The books indexed include most of the major works
of power structure research, as well as other books on American
politics, economics, and foreign policy. These books can then
be located in the library or you can purchase xerox copies of the
pages for a fee. One valuable option allows you to see the
names of other persons who are mentioned on those same pages and to
display these links as a network diagram.
You can also do a general search of the Internet for
biographical information on individual elites by using any of the
leading search engines. See the Search Engine page for tips.
Copyright © 2013 by Val Burris