Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Project Description:

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The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (www.oxforddnb.com/) is the national record of 60,000 men and women who shaped the history of the British Isles and of Britons worldwide, from the Roman occupation to the 21st century.    

The ODNB is the world’s largest collaborative research project in the humanities, providing concise, up-to-date biographies written by 14,000 specialists overseen by a small team of academic editors at Oxford's History Faculty. In addition to 60,000 biographies, the Dictionary includes more than 500 thematic essays (setting individuals in historical context), and 11,500 portrait likenesses, researched in association with the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The ODNB was first published in 2004, in 60 print volumes and online. Regular updates have since have added a further 5000 biographies and thematic essays. Roughly half of these new biographies are of people from the very recent past who died (all people in the ODNB are deceased) in the 21st century. Other biographies extend the Dictionary’s coverage across earlier periods in the light of recent scholarship and publications. Updates also revise existing biographies in response to new research.

Dictionary editors also run a programme of public engagement and data linking with other national institutions (museums, galleries, the National Trust, and national biographies worldwide), as well as with research libraries and university research projects in the UK and the United States.