Teaching using the Oxford DNB

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford DNB) is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Oxford DNB offers concise, up-to-date biographies written by named, specialist authors, and is updated with new content every month. With over 60,000 biographies published to date, the Oxford DNB contains biographies suitable for every lesson.

Recommend the Oxford DNB to your librarian to gain access.

Jane, the Queen's Fool Alan Turing Anne Lister John Blanke Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Key features

World-class research

The Oxford DNB is overseen by academic editors at Oxford University, UK, and published by Oxford University Press. The Oxford DNB's General Editor is Professor Sir David Cannadine, a post he holds in conjunction with the Dodge Professorship of History at Princeton University. He is a specialist in the political, social, and cultural history of modern Britain and its empire, and the study of history over time.

Advanced search features

Easily search for biographies relevant to your lesson using our sophisticated search tool to narrow down biographies by occupation, life event, or location by using the filters in the left hand column.

Tools and resources

The Oxford DNB offers many different group theme articles that are a reference companion to British history, plus collections of biographies around particular topics, including Women's History, London and Londoners, and the Armistice.

Easily link to biographies in your lesson plans

Each biography has a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI) listed underneath the name of the subject. This static link will always direct you to that biography, so it is perfect for adding to your reading lists and lesson plans.

Regular updates

The Oxford DNB is updated with new biographies every month, based around topics such as early modern women, black lives, and regional authors. This includes a big update every January comprised of subjects who died as recently as four years ago, providing you with a reliable source even for contemporary history.

Download printable PDFs

Create handouts by clicking on the PDF icon located in the top right corner of every article, or send a link directly to your students by clicking the "share" icon.


Recommend the Oxford DNB to your librarian to gain access.