18 March 2003. A subscriber asked about finding biographical
information on government agency employees. The person did not specify an
interest in state or federal agency employees, or say whether the
information sought was for a current or former employee. Therefore, I'll
mention a range of possibilities.
You usually find commercially published biographies written
about important or famous people. If you want a biography about someone in
this category, try these three resources:
Go to the advanced search feature for books and enter the last name (and
first name, if necessary) of the employee as a subject term. Path from
the Amazon home page: Do a Search, then follow the Advanced Search
link. Example: search Tenet as a "subject
word" to find two hearings on his nomination to be Deputy Director
and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, respectively. Both, by
the way, are out of print.
Search the library catalog of your local public, county
or academic library. Use the same name-as-subject search strategy.
Resources like lib-web-cats
and LibDex may help
you find a library catalog.
Search the catalog of the Library
Next, agency Web sites sometimes provide biographical
information about top-ranking employees. See, for example,
Tenet's biography at the State Department Web site. You can find these biographies
Browsing or searching the agency Web site.
Using a finding aid like
WHO IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT by the government library at the
University of Michigan.
Searching Firstgov. Use the advanced
search form, where you can limit the query to a particular state or
the federal government, or add keywords like biography or biographical
to the search.
Unclesam, which restricts Google queries to sites providing federal
Finally, Carroll Publishing, a long-time publisher of print
directories about government, offers a fee-based online research service
called GovSearch. According to information available at the Web site, GovSearch
provides information about government contacts for all levels of government
-- federal, state and local. However, it includes mostly higher level
employees. If you double-click on a staff person's name, you may find a
biography. Carroll Publishing offers a free