Osterhout Free Library
District Center Wilkes-Barre Library District
71 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Phone: (570) 823-0156
Reference direct dial (570) 821-1959
E-Mail: mail@osterhout.lib.pa.us


Biography Reference Bank:


Text Box: Accessible free of charge from any location with your Luzerne County Library card 

·        covers 500,000 people  and has more than 36,000 images

·        features book review excerpts from Wilson’s Book Review Digest Plus

·        contains links to full text articles & abstracts 

Customize Display:  This opens a specification screen to define how you prefer the records to be displayed

Basic Search: Use natural language or Boolean searching. This is best to use when searching a name of a person, a subject, or a particular phrase.

1.         Enter term (Option: Place term or phrase in quotations for more direct searches) & Click START


Advanced Search: Is the default search: You can locate specific information by using what you already know about your topic.

1. There are a few methods to use when searching in the Advanced Search

1.         First, Notice the LIMIT TO option to limit your results.

2.         Build a Boolean search & use the AND, OR, & NOT drop down boxes

3.         Use the Birth/Death Date box

4.         Search by Profession, Origin, or Gender 

Browse: Searching for a name in the Browse screen is helpful when you are not sure of the correct spelling.

1.         Results appear in alphabetical order

2.         Enter a term (Last Name First) & select a subject from the drop-down box

3.         Use front & back arrows on the bottom of the screen to display further results. 

Thesaurus: The Thesaurus is a list of suggested subject headings & related terms in the database’s controlled vocabulary. You can look up & retrieve information about subjects covered. 

1.         Enter a subject; each term appears as part of a multi-term subject, which helps narrow the initial subject entered.

2.         Use front & back arrows on the bottom of the screen to display further results. 

Viewing Results The Master Record of a search may include: images, full text biographies, articles &/or citations about the person, book citations & reviews about the person & books & reviews by the person.

1.         Results ranked at 100% show exact match on the subject. Results ranked at a lower percentage indicate that the term appears somewhere in the record.

2.         The initial results provide:

1.         a birth date, a death date & images

3.         Further results provides resource links such as:

Obituaries, Biographies, Articles, & Books

4.         Obituary Link – provides bibliographic information, full text, & the source of information

5.         Biography Link – provides similar information

6.          Books with or by the Subject searched  will provide a listing of books including the title, author, & publisher

7.         Articles– This may direct the page to a list of subtopics 

1.         Click on a Subtopic

2.       Choose a Title of an article

3.       * REMEMBER: to use the Back to Brief button to get back to the subtopic list

8.         To retrieve Full Text Information & If the full text article is available :

1.         1, 2, or 3 of the full text icons will appear next to the title of the article or to check quickly you can click Full Text under Limit These Results. This will direct you only to Full Text articles.

2.       Choose the HTML or PDF format to view the article.

3.       At this point you can Print, Email, or Save

9.         Click Print – To display a printable version of the article.

10.     Click Email - Fill in required boxes to email article

11.     Click Save – To save to Computer


Search History: Current session searches are reported & tracked in the Search History screen. Each new or modified search displays at the top of the list in the first position.

1.         To Save information and retrieve it later you are required to first Sign On

2.         To Sign On - Click on the Sign On button on the bottom of the Search History page & create an ID  

3.         To Save

4.         Check off any box you would like to refer to later

5.         Create/Type a Name for this material in the upper right box

6.         Click Save Marked

7.         The box will appear after you signed on & display what you have chosen to mark.

8.         Click Load to view Saved Information


Print, Email, Save: The Records, Fields, & Include sections are identical in Print, Email, & Save.

  1. Print  - Fields section:
    1. Choose “Full” to print the specific bio.
    2. Choose “All” to print all bios listed on that person
    3. Click Estimate to display the number of pages.
    4. Click Print to print records.
  2. Email - Same rules apply to Email, except the Format section.
    1. The 3 most useful format options are: HTML, Plain Text, & Rich Text
    2. Enter email address, subject, & select options to indicate which records you want to send.
    3. Click Email
  3. Save - Same as Email
    1. Select options to indicate which records you want to save & click SAVE
    2. When you choose save, the behavior is somewhat determined by your browser. It will either open the saved version in a separate window or it will show a box asking whether to open it with a specific program or to save it.