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For librarians

On this page you will find information of particular interest to librarians and administrators managing an Oxford DNB subscription.


Other promotional material for librarians on Oxford DNB and all OUP's electronic resources is available from the Online Products Librarian Resource Centre.



Telling your patrons about your subscription



Regular updates to the Oxford DNB

  • Three annual updates add new biographies (including people active in the 21st century), along with quick reference guides
  • Updates are published every January, May, and September. Full list of updates


Help your patrons get more from the Oxford DNB


You'll find the Oxford DNB invaluable for answering your patrons' queries about people—even the relatively obscure—from the British past. But don't stop there ...

History in the news and history near you



Federated search

  • The Oxford DNB does not support the z39.50 protocol. However, an HTTP request in the following form can be used in a federated search, where "Winston Churchill" is the search term:
    • http://www.oxforddnb.com/search/quick/?quicksearch=quicksearch&searchTarget=people&simpleName=winston%20churchill
    • This search runs a quick name search for "Winston Churchill" (in other words, a search for the Winston Churchill entry, not a text search for his name.
  • However, note that the results from a search are presented in alphabetical order. If a user searches simply for "Churchill", Winston Churchill is the 25th result. This highlights the difficulty of using federated search with the Oxford DNB.


Explaining changes due to standards move from ICOLC to COUNTER:


Over the last year we have been transitioning our online products from ICOLC to COUNTER usage reporting, to come in line with industry standards in usage statistic reporting.


As a result of the change of these reporting formats, you may have noticed a significant change in the usage figures you are seeing. This is because of the difference in how ICOLC and COUNTER statistics are reported, not due to any sudden changes in actual user behaviour. We absolutely understand that this may have caused concern, so have produced a document to help explain how COUNTER works – COUNTER, What is it and how does it affect me?


We are fully committed to help you to understand the differences between ICOLC and COUNTER reporting and the impact this has had on your usage reports. We urge you to monitor statistics since the change to identify any changes in behaviour, rather than comparing ICOLC directly with COUNTER. We will also continue to work alongside you to support the growth of usage across your portfolio of online products.


More information:



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