The information collected in the dictionary comes from various sources. It has been arranged in such a way as to create a mini-monograph that serves as a starting point for further investigation of the output of a given writer or researcher.
Each entry is formed of three main parts:
- Studies and Reviews
BIOGRAPHY: contains basic personal information and details of the person’s education, career and, above all, literary output and/or research. Aside from details relating to debut pieces, the biographical notes include information on, for example, membership of literary groups, associations and societies, on periodicals they collaborated with (including editorial roles, regular columns or cycles of texts), while texts on researchers focus on their contribution to academic life.
The facts relating to the lives of writers are compiled primarily on the basis of existing research on their biographies. Where academic studies were unavailable, other openly available sources were consulted (including the press, literary and cultural periodicals, regional dictionaries, and online databases), with direct contact with the subject of an entry an even more important source. An established practice of all the Editorial Teams working on different series of the dictionaries of literary biography was to send questionnaires to authors who then also received drafts of their entry for authorization. This remains particularly important today where openly available sources on the youngest generation of authors remain limited. Where efforts to contact a writer prior to publication proved unsuccessful, this is mentioned in the footnotes accompanying the entries.
In accordance with established practices, efforts have been made to ensure that the biographical notes feature the same kind of information as was requested in the questionnaires. The inclusion or omission of particular information in certain entries could be a result of either the specific character of an entry or concerns expressed by the subject of an entry.
In accordance with established methodological principles, the entries make no attempt to judge or classify an author’s work, with details limited to the form of work they produced.
WORKS: this section features a bibliography that includes original works, translations and adaptations, critical editions and edited works that appeared in Poland and abroad, and those both in Polish and in foreign languages; the works are listed in chronological order based on the date of the first edition (or the date it was written, if known). Separate numbered categories in this section cover:
- books, including e-books
- plays and novels that appeared solely in periodicals or edited volumes,
- plays that are known only because they were performed on stage or television,
- scripts that were made into films and television shows,
- substantial works in manuscript form that are held in public collections (this does not apply to living authors),
- the titles of works that have been lost but whose existence as a completed piece has been verified,
- exceptionally: other works deemed particularly significant from a literary historical perspective, regardless of their length or publications status.
Where possible, entries under these categories include as much information as possible regarding a given work: when it was written (if significantly different to the date of publication), the date of the first edition, an overview of subsequent editions, and any world premieres.
Separate headings cover details of, among other things, radio plays (if they were unpublished), while entries on literary scholars outline their most significant essays and studies published in edited volumes and periodicals (that do not feature in any compilations published under the person’s name); the headings also cover translations of such works and any international anthologies featuring an author’s work. Other separate categories include, for example, compilations of an author’s works and contributions to exhibition catalogues, etc.
The key details on a work (title, subtitle, place and year of first publication and subsequent editions, number of pages) are complemented by notes relating to other forms of publication (e-books, CD, DVD), authorship, the name under which the work was publication, location of the manuscript, and important prizes (or nominations for selected awards), translations into foreign languages, and adaptations.
In the case of volumes of short stories, plays, and collections of essays, the specific individual pieces are listed; volumes of poetry include only the names of cycles. No details are provided of the specific contents of collections of reportage pieces, column pieces, or reviews. In the section on translations, there are no details relating to the contents of volumes of short stories or essays, while only the world premiere performances of translations of plays are noted. Articles by literary scholars that appeared in volumes they themselves edited are included under WORKS in the category Articles in periodicals and edited volumes.
The WORKS section does not include pieces published in the press, in Polish anthologies or in edited volumes (with the exception of serialized novels, plays or, as mentioned above, compilations of articles from academic journals). Also omitted are details of texts by the same author but not related to literature, such as works in philosophy, theology or other fields. Instead, there is an indication of their existence without extensive details.
STUDIES AND REVIEWS: this section includes a selected bibliography relating to the subject of an entry. It is divided into the following categories:
- Questionnaire for IBL PAN including a date (or dates)– this indicates that in a particular year an author submitted a response to the questionnaire to the editorial team, added new information to a previous response, or corrected earlier answers;
- The author in their own words – a list of statements made by the author on their own work;
- Interviews – a selection of the most important interviews with the author to have appeared in the press, edited volumes or online;
- Dictionaries and bibliographies – entries to dictionaries and bibliographies relating to the author;
- General analyses – a list of selected analyses of the entire output or a large part of the oeuvre of the author, divided into Books and Articles, while also listing Catalogues of exhibitions on the author;
- Reviews and analyses relating to particular works in the order given in the WORKS section.
Within the above categories, the entries are ordered chronologically.