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For schools and teachers

Welcome to the learning resources section of the online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Here you will find a range of materials to aid teachers, lecturers, and students wishing to use the online Oxford DNB in lesson planning, essay writing, project work, and research in secondary and tertiary education.



Horatio Nelson Nyree Dawn Porter Constantine I Anne Boleyn Winston Churchill Eileen Agar

In brief: what is the Oxford DNB?

  • the Oxford DNB includes biographies of 58,000 men and women who shaped British life between the 4th century BC and the year 2008. Here's a sample.


  • written by 10,000 specialist authors worldwide, the biographies are peer reviewed by expert scholars overseen by academic editors at Oxford University. The dictionary is published in print (60 volumes) and online (www.oxforddnb.com) by Oxford University Press.


  • the dictionary isn’t just for people studying history or life in the British Isles: for example, there's comprehensive coverage of writers and artists, thinkers and scientists, and those who shaped the history of the British empire and the wider world.


  • online the ODNB also includes Themes - a companion guide to the who, when, and what of British history. Here's a free sample.


  • Online updates add new biographies and themes every January, May, and September.


  • the Oxford DNB online is available via university, college and public libraries across Britain (offering ‘remote access’ from home), and in many more institutions worldwide. If you belong to one of these you probably already have access to the complete ODNB from any computer. The Oxford DNB is also available for free institutional trials.


  • alongside the main Dictionary (which requires a personal or institutional subscription to access), the Free Oxford DNB area offers topical content. Try our free Life of the Day, regular biography podcast, and permanent open shelves.

To help you find what you want we've divided the Learning Resources area into three sections. Just click on a link to see how the online Oxford DNB can be used for lesson planning, background reading, and research.


Secondary education: GCSE key stages 3 and 4


Secondary education: AS and A-Level


Tertiary education: further education and university



Getting access to the complete Oxford DNB


If your school, college or university already subscribes to the Oxford DNB you can get access to all 57,000 biographies, and Themes, through your institution's link.

If not, you can see more content at Free Oxford DNB: here you'll find a gallery of lives of the week, regular biography podcast, and more free content on the Open Shelves.

If you'd like information on getting a free trial of the Oxford DNB for your school or college please go to www.oup.com/online/odnb/ or contact onlineproducts@oup.com.

Don't forget: in the UK you can get personal access to the full Oxford DNB online via most public libraries; remote log-ins allow library members to read the Oxford DNB at home for free.

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