Who's Who
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''Who's Who'' (or "''Who is Who''") is the title of a number of reference publications, generally containing concise
biographical A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or c ...

biographical
information on the prominent people of a country. The title has been adopted as an expression meaning a group of notable persons. The oldest and best-known is the annual publication ''
Who's Who ''Who's Who'' (or "''Who is Who''") is the title of a number of reference publications, generally containing concise biography, biographical information on the prominent people of a country. The title has been adopted as an expression meaning a gr ...
'', a reference work on contemporary prominent people in Britain published annually since 1849. In addition to legitimate reference works, some ''Who's Who'' lists involve the selling of "memberships" in fraudulent directories that are created online or through instant publishing services. Various advocacy groups, universities and governments have published warnings of these ''Who's Who'' scams.


Notable examples by country

* ''
Who's Who ''Who's Who'' (or "''Who is Who''") is the title of a number of reference publications, generally containing concise biography, biographical information on the prominent people of a country. The title has been adopted as an expression meaning a gr ...
'', the oldest listing of prominent British people since 1849; people who have died since 1897 are listed in ''Who Was Who.'' * ''
Cambridge Who's Who Cambridge Who's Who, also known as Worldwide Who's Who, is a vanity publisher based in Uniondale, New York. It describes itself as highlighting people's professional careers by publishing encapsulated biographies. For additional payment, the publis ...
'' (also known as ''Worldwide Who's Who''), a
vanity publisher A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. Where mainstream publishers aim to sell enough copies of a book to cover their own costs, and typically reject a majorit ...
based in Uniondale, New York. * ''
Marquis Who's Who Marquis Who's Who or is an American publisher of a number of directories containing short biographies. The books are usually titled ''Who's Who in...'' followed by some subject, such as ''Who's Who in America'', ''Who's Who of American Women'', ...
'', a series of books published since 1899 by Marquis, primarily listing prominent American people, but including ''Who's Who in the World''. * ''
Who's Who in New Zealand The ''Who's Who in New Zealand'', originally called the ''Who's Who in New Zealand and the Western Pacific'', is a collection of biographies that was first published in 1908, and the latest version is from 1991. History The first edition was edit ...
'', twelve editions published at irregular intervals between 1908 and 1991 * ''Canadian Who's Who'', a listing of prominent Canadians since 1910 * ''Who's Who in Switzerland'', published from 1953 to 1996 and then ''Swiss Who's Who'', a listing of prominent Swiss or leading figures living in Switzerland since 2015 * ''Who's Who in Australia'', a listing of prominent Australians since 1923 * ''Who's Who in France'', a listing of prominent French or people living in France since 1953 * ''Who's Who in Scotland'', a listing of prominent Scots since 1986 * ''Who's Who'', by Metron Publications, a listing of prominent Greeks since 1992 * ''Who's Who of Southern Africa'', published in paper form until 2007 when it was replaced by a website


Non-English publications

Some ''Who's Who'' books have a title in the language of the country concerned: * Croatian: ''Tko je tko u Hrvatskoj'', bilingual edition (1993) * Danish: ''Kraks Blå Bog'' (since 1910) annually * Finnish: ''Kuka kukin on'' (since 1909) at first irregularly, every fourth year since 1970 * German:'' Wer ist's?'' (1905–1935) and ' (since 1951) almost annually * German: for East Germany: ' * Japanese: ''Nihon Tarento Meikan'' (Talent Who's Who in Japan), a listing of Japanese celebrities, or ''tarentos'', since 1970 * Lithuanian: ' (Who's Who in Lithuania), a listing of prominent Lithuanians and business companies since 1995. * Norwegian:'' Hvem er Hvem?'' (since 1912) 14 editions in the 20th century * Swedish:'' Vem är det'' (since 1912) every second year


Specialised publications

* ''International Who's Who'' by Europa Publications, a Taylor and Francis imprint * ''Who's Who Among American High School Students'' listing what it deems to be American high school and college students who particularly excel in the realm of academic achievement. The publishing company closed in 2007. * ''Who's Who in American Art'', a listing of prominent American artists * ''Who's Who in British History'' * ''Who's Who in the CIA'', a book published in East Berlin in 1968 with the assistance of the KGB and the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, HVA purporting to reveal the identities of thousands of CIA officers. * ''Who's Who in the DC Universe'' a listing of DC Comics characters * ''Who's Who in the Theatre'', published in Britain and the US from 1912 to 1982


Other publications and scams

The title "''Who's Who''" is in the public domain, and thousands of ''Who's Who'' compilations of varying scope and quality (and similar publications without the words "Who's Who") have been published by various authors and publishers. Some publications have been described as scams; they list any people likely to buy the book, or to pay for inclusion, with no criterion of genuine notability. They may offer vanity awards or expensive trophies. One example was the ''Who's Who Among American High School Students'' which was criticized for questionable nomination practices as well as whether the listing's entries are fact-checked and accurate.
Yvonne Zanos: What's what with Who's Who
', December 5, 2005, retrieved 2/12/07


'', WCCO TV, January 3, 2006
There was no cost to be listed, but it was often categorized as a scam since it was an attempt by a private entity to profit from parents and students who purchase the book and various memorabilia associated with the publication in attempt at recognition. Students consented to being listed in the ''Who's Who'' in the hope that the listing would be seen by college admissions offices as a significant recognition of a student's academic and extracurricular involvement. However, most admissions officers believe that the recognition has no such value and in fact some consider the "honor" to be a joke. According to the admissions vice president of Hamline University, "It's honestly something that an admissions officer typically wouldn't consider or wouldn't play into an admissions decision," adding that "''Who's Who...'' is just trying to sell books".


See also

* ''Hinterland Who's Who'', a series of 60-second public service ads profiling Canadian animals and birds, produced by Environment Canada in the 1960s * ''Kdo byl kdo'' (Czech: "Who was who?") * Biographical dictionary


References

{{Authority control Lists of books by type Biographical dictionaries