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Free Oxford DNB

The Oxford DNB has stories of 59,000 men and women who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. If you’d like to know more about the ODNB for study, teaching or research, take our Tour of the online edition.

Here are 6 ways to access the complete ODNB, or to see topical free lives.

1. Use your local library's subscription

Horatio Nelson

Access the whole Oxford DNB free, anywhere at any time using your local library's subscription. All you need is your membership number.

Nearly all UK public libraries subscribe, as do many more worldwide. Find out more.

2. Life of the Day, Lives of the Week

Nyree Dawn Porter

Every day we select and send out a topical biography by email as our Life of the Day.

Sign up for Life of the Day. Your email software should present you with an email; click on send. (You'll then receive an email asking you to confirm.) To cancel your subscription at any time please use this sign-off link in the same way.

3. Biography podcast, and archive

Constantine I

Subscribe to our podcast for audio versions of some favourite ODNB lives.

New episodes are released every fortnight; you’ll find 250 episodes in our thematic podcast archive.

You can download an individual life or subscribe to our fortnightly biography podcast, released on iTunes as 'Oxford Biographies'. Each episode lasts between 10 and 30 minutes.

4. Listen on SoundCloud


A selection of podcasts are available via SoundCloud, with new recordings added twice a month.

5. Follow us on …

DNB Twitter

@odnb Twitter tweets for topical lives & things historical.

Oxford DNB also makes weekly appearances on OUP’s Facebook and Tumblr pages.

You’ll also find us on OUP’s blog on topics including Micro-history, April Fool’s Day and Wimbledon tennis.

6. New updates & ‘What’s new’

Eileen Agar

The Oxford DNB update publishes new updates every January, May & September.

Selected new biographies are always available as ‘Highlights’.

7. Maps, picture galleries and features

Gardeners in the Oxford DNB

We’ve also biographies by place or topic on the Open Shelves—for students, teachers, and local and family historians.

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