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The Oxford DNB at 10: biography and contemporary history

When it was first published in September 2004, the Oxford DNB included biographies of people who had died (all in the ODNB are deceased) on or before 31 December 2001. In the subsequent ten years we have continued to extend the Dictionary’s coverage into the twenty-first century—with regular updates recording those who have died since 2001. Of the 4300 people whose biographies have been added to the online ODNB in this decade, 2172 died between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2010.

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The Oxford DNB at 10: what we know now

When it was first published in September 2004, the Oxford DNB brought together the work of more than 10,000 humanities scholars charting the lives of nearly 55,000 historical individuals. Collectively it captured a generation’s understanding and perception of the British past and Britons’ reach worldwide.

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A welcome from David Cannadine, the new editor of the Oxford DNB

Here at Princeton, the new academic year is very much upon us, and I shall soon begin teaching a junior seminar on ‘Winston Churchill, Anglo-America, and the “Special Relationship”’, which is always enormously enjoyable, not least because one of the essential books on the undergraduate reading list is Paul Addison’s marvellous brief biography, published by OUP, which he developed from the outstanding entry on Churchill that he wrote for the Oxford DNB.

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World War I in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

Coverage of the centenary of the outbreak of World War One has made us freshly familiar with many memorable sayings, from Edward Grey’s ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe’, to Wilfred Owen’s ‘My subject is War, and the pity of war/ The Poetry is in the pity’, and Lena Guilbert Horne’s exhortation to ‘Keep the Home-fires burning’.

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The Oxford DNB at 10: new perspectives on medieval biography

Today’s publication of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s September 2014 update—marking the Dictionary’s tenth anniversary—contains a chronological bombshell. The ODNB covers the history of Britons worldwide ‘from the earliest times’, a phrase which until now has meant since the fourth century BC, as represented by Pytheas, the Marseilles merchant whose account of the British Isles is the earliest known to survive

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The Oxford DNB at 10: new research opportunities in the humanities

The publication of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in September 2004 was a milestone in the history of scholarship, not least for crossing from print to digital publication. Prior to this moment a small army of biographers, myself among them, had worked almost entirely from paper sources, including the stately volumes of the first, Victorian ‘DNB’ and its 20th-century print supplement volumes. But the Oxford DNB of 2004 was conceived from the outset as a database and published online as web pages, not paper pages reproduced in facsimile.

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Oxford University Press during World War I

By Lizzie Shannon-Little and Martin Maw
The very settled life of Oxford University Press was turned upside down at the outbreak of the First World War; 356 of the approximately 700 men that worked for the Press were conscribed, the majority in the first few months. The reduction of half of the workforce and the ever-present uncertainty of the return of friends and colleagues must have made the Press a very difficult place to work.

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Leonardo da Vinci from the Benezit Dictionary of Artists

Leonardo da Vinci was the illegitimate son of the Florentine notary Ser Piero da Vinci, who married Albiera di Giovanni Amadori, the daughter of a patrician family, in the year Leonardo was born. Little is known about the artist’s natural mother, Caterina, other than that five years after Leonardo’s birth she married an artisan from Vinci named Chartabriga di Piero del Veccha.

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Have you heard? Oxford DNB releases 200th episode in biography podcast

By Philip Carter
Way back in 2007, when Twittering truly was for the birds, a far-sighted editor at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography piped up: maybe people would like to listen as well as read? So was devised the Oxford DNB‘s biography podcast which this week released its 200th episode—the waggerly tale of Charles Cruft (1852-1938), founder of the eponymous dog show held annually in early March.

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An Oxford Companion to Valentine’s Day

By Daniel Parker
It’s big, it’s red, and it’s here. Valentine’s Day strikes fear into the hearts of men and women around the Western world like nothing else can. But you needn’t run scared of the Hallmark branded teddy bears. Oh no. Follow the sprinkling of rose petals, the sweet aroma of scented candles, and the dulcet tones of Phil Collins up the stairs to the luxury boudoir that is Oxford University Press.

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UK National Libraries Day 2014: “Why we love libraries”

Today is National Libraries Day in the United Kingdom, and hundreds of activities and events are taking place in public libraries of all shapes and sizes — from the multi-million pound Library of Birmingham, to the tiniest local libraries run by volunteers — in order to celebrate our wonderful librarians, and the libraries they run. To celebrate National Libraries Day, we asked a few of our staff what they love about public libraries.

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An Oxford Companion to Superman

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it another Superman-related blogpost to tie in with today’s release of Man of Steel? Hold on to the bulging blue bicep of Oxford University Press and prepare to gaze below in wonder as we take you on a ride over the past 80 years of Superman.

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An Oxford guide to women’s history: quiz

In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography you’ll currently find biographies of 6340 women who’ve shaped British history and culture between the 1st and 21st century — making it one of the most extensive accounts of women’s contribution to national life. Who are these women?

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