Oxford's Dictionary of National Biography provides a detailed account of Austen's life and work, including information on her family, the contemporary reception of her writing, her legacy, and a list of standard sources to consult for further reading.
The University of Iowa's Main Library holds these works of biography of Jane Austen:
Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters: a Family Record is an early twentieth-century account of Austen's life and work written by her descendants. (PR4036 .A86 1913)
A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family, published by Cambridge University Press, is a 'unique chronology', according to its publisher, contains 'some ten thousand entries', allows the reader to 'discover where she was and what she was doing at many precise moments of her life', and 'includes family trees for the extended Austen and Knight families from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.' (PR4036 .L42 2006)
There are also a number of more recent biographies in the library's collections. Four to start:
Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen
Cambridge University Press is the publisher of the definitive, scholarly, and critial edition of Jane Austen's novels. Each volume contains, according to the publisher, 'the text itself, with an introduction giving a full publishing history of the work, together with explanatory notes and textual apparatus, and relevant appendices.' The Main Libray holds the following volumes in this edition:
Persuasion (PR4034 .P4 2006)
Wiley-Blackwell's A Companion to Jane Austen
This reference work may be particularly helpful in understanding the contexts and traditions Austen's writing was formed by and helped form. According to its publisher, 'Reflecting the dynamic and expansive nature of Austen studies, A Companion to Jane Austen provides 42 essays from a distinguished team of literary scholars that examine the full breadth of the English novelist's works and career.'
Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts
This digital archive aims to bring together all known surviving manuscripts in the hand of Jane Austen. Numbering at present over 1000 pages, users of the archive can view high-quality scans of Austen's original manuscript pages, view complete transcriptions of each page, compare transcriptions with their original manuscript texts, and more. This is an invaluable resource for investigating Austen's working methods.
Letters of Jane Austen
Jane Austen's Letters, ed. Deirdre Le Faye. The most recent edition of Austen's letters, published by Oxford University Press in 2011, 'this new fourth edition incorporates the findings of recent scholarship to further enrich our understanding of Austen and give us the fullest and most revealing view yet of her life and family. In addition, Le Faye has written a new preface, has amended and updated the biographical and topographical indexes, has introduced a new subject index, and had added the contents of the notes to the general index.' (PR4036 .A4 2011)
Additionally, the Brabourne Edition of Austen's letters is available on the web. Published in 1884, its text is now in the public domain. Although the edition is outdated (it is not complete, and the text can be in unreliable in places), its easy accessibility here makes it a convenient resource for newcomers to Austen's letters and for anyone without immediate access to an academic library.
Scholarship and Criticism on Jane Austen and Her World
MLA International Bibliography (MLAB) is a subject index for books, chapters in books, and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics. It is produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA), an organization dedicated to the study and teaching of language and literature. The electronic version of the Bibliography dates back to 1925 and contains over 2 million citations from more than 4,400 periodicals (including peer-reviewed e-journals) and 1,000 book publishers.
Annual Bibliography of English language and Literature (ABELL) contains 880,000 records, covering monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews and collections of essays published anywhere in the world from 1920 onwards.
Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line is a peer-reviewed, open access journal devoted to the study of Jane Austen. Search here to find recent, high-quality scholarship in the field of Austen studies.