This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: April 21, 2005

Web eases search for info about the author

UB's 2004-05 Distinguished Speakers Series will conclude on April 28 with a visit from the internationally acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie (< strong>

Although he has authored seven novels and as many works of nonfiction, Rushdie is undoubtedly best known for the controversy surrounding the award-winning 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses." The book's depiction of Mohammed was declared blasphemous by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who subsequently issued a legal pronouncement (fatwa) calling for the author's execution. However, there is much more to the story of Rushdie's 30-year career and the World Wide Web has made finding out "about the author" easier than ever.

For background information on any author from any time period, UB students, faculty and staff should begin at Literature Resource Center (, a comprehensive, subscription database that provides biographies and bibliographies of authors, as well as the full text of articles, book reviews and critical essays about their works. Note that these same resources also are available to the UB community in an alternative interface through the Dictionary of Literary Biography (; simply change the tab at the top of the page to "Search All Literature Databases." Each biography listed provides an overview of the author's life and descriptions of his or her work, along with recommended further readings about the author.

In addition to providing extensive background information, the Web has several tools that allow you to keep current with your favorite authors. Search results in Literature Resource Center feature a "Recent Update" link, which supplements the biographical entry with related stories from major news sources. Literature Resource Center also links to Authors on the Highway, a free database of upcoming author tour appearances that is maintained by the magazine Publishers Weekly. Readers who do not wish to log on through the UB network can connect directly from http://www. Information on book tours and other author appearances frequently can be found on the author's or publisher's official Web site; visit Author Yellow Pages (http://www. for a searchable directory of links.

Remember that your favorite authors also may turn up in unexpected places, such as in a People Search at IMDb: The Internet Movie Database ( IMDb filmographies include even the most obscure appearances in movies and selected television shows, any behind-the-scenes writing credits, trivia and a brief biography. The IMDb page for Rushdie ( name/nm0750723/), for example, might send some fans to their Netflix queues in order to catch his memorable cameo in the 2001 comedy "Bridget Jones's Diary."

For more information on Rushdie's visit to UB, including where to purchase tickets, visit the Office of Special Events' Distinguished Speakers page at http://www.student-affairs.buffalo. edu/special/distinguishedspeakers.shtml.

—Jennifer L. Behrens, University Libraries