Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the revised edition of the Dictionary of National Biography, which was first published in instalments between 1885 and 1900. The new dictionary was published in sixty printed volumes in 2004, but is also available - and regularly updated - online at http://www.oxforddnb.com

In contrast to the original publication which tended to focus on grand historical characters - lords, dukes, politicians, generals and the like - the new dictionary also contains biographies of "ordinary people", including Henry Burstow, Harry Cox, William Kimber, Jinky Wells and a number of other traditional musicians and singers. This policy may well have been influenced by the fact that the initial editor of the Oxford DNB, Colin Matthew, was a folk music enthusiast who played the Scottish bagpipes.

The online dictionary is available on subscription only. Initially this limited access to members of Universities and other academic institutions. However members of the public are now able to access the dictionary if their public library authority has taken out a subscription.