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What's new in the Oxford DNB?

Here you'll find details of the dictionary's latest update (January 2015)—plus news of monthly features, our bi-weekly biography podcast, and topical Lives of the Day.


The Oxford DNB online is updated every January, May, and September with new biographies and reference articles. Previous updates


You may also be interested in Taking a tour of the online edition.



Latest online update: January 2015

Our January 2015 online update adds biographies of 226 people who died in 2011. Full list of new lives.


  • Film & television: film actor Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), director Ken Russell (1927-2011), composer John Barry (1933-2011), best known for his James Bond scores, and John Sullivan (1946-2011), creator of Only Fools and Horses.
  • Art, music & literature: artists Lucian Freud (1922-2011) and Richard Hamilton (1922-2011), cartoonist Ronald Searle, folk musician Bert Jansch (1943-2011), singer Amy Winehouse (1983-2011), travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), and the author and journalist Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011).
  • Medicine, science & engineering: virologist Leslie Collier (1921-2011) whose work led to the eradication of smallpox, Patrick Mollison (1914-2011), pioneer of blood transfusion, the master watchmaker George Daniels (1926-2011), and the road haulier and businessman, Edward Stobart (1954-2011).

Editor's Introduction    :    Highlights from the new update    :    January 2015 update




January 2015

  • New update published: our new update adds biographies of 226 people who died in the year 2011. Highlights.
  • Full list of the 226 new biographies
  • Introduction to the new update.
  • Lives of the day: January’s lives include (from our latest update) the artist Lucian Freud (8th), actor Elizabeth Taylor (9th), and the dramatist Shelagh Delany (21st). There’s also the social reformer and Fabian, Beatrice Webb (22nd), the natural philosopher, Robert Boyle (25th), and John Profumo, on the centenary of his birth (30th). Find out who's currently in the Lives of the week gallery, and sign up for the life of the day.
  • Oxford DNB podcasts: new biographies, and some old favourites, as downloads and podcasts: this month, the (Hanoverian) right to roam and the anchorite's tale.
  • Daily lives, regular podcast episodes, and other historical news is also available via Follow odnb on Twitter
  • More routes to free sample content.

December 2014

  • Coming soon: the January update of the ODNB will add biographies of 230 people who died in 2011.
  • The 60-volume print edition is now on sale for £500; ODNB authors receive a further 40% discount. More
  • The ODNB's anniversary competition: 10 questions on 10 people added to the ODNB over the last 10 years. Ends Friday 12 December.
  • Lives of the day: December's lives include Octavia Hill, benefactor and co-founder of the National Trust (3rd), the nurse and female hero Edith Cavell (4th), travel writer Eric Newby (6th), George Whitefield, Calvinistic Methodist leader, on the tercentenary of his birth (16th), and the novelist Penelope Fitzgerald (17th). Find out who's currently in the Lives of the week gallery, and sign up for the life of the day
  • Oxford DNB podcasts: new biographies, and some old favourites, as downloads and podcasts: this month, Catherine Gladstone, wife of William, and Jock Kinneir, designer of British road signs.
  • Daily lives, regular podcast episodes, and other historical news is also available via Follow odnb on Twitter
  • More routes to free sample content.

November 2014

  • The 60-volume print edition is now on sale for £500; ODNB authors receive a further 40% discount. More
  • Have a go at ODNB's anniversary competition: 10 questions on 10 people added to the ODNB over the last 10 years.
  • Lives of the day: November’s lives include the monarchs Alexander I (8th), Edward VII (9th), and Cnut (12th), while wartime lives include Vera Brittain (11th) and Frances Farrer (13th) who led the Women’s Institute during the Second World War. Find out who’s currently in the Lives of the week gallery, and sign up for the life of the day.
  • Oxford DNB podcasts: new biographies, and some old favourites, as downloads and podcasts: this month, tales of two historical bodies: a failed resurrection and a prehistoric Red Lady.
  • Daily lives, regular podcast episodes, and other historical news is also available via Follow odnb on Twitter
  • More routes to free sample content.