Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

We are pleased to announce that Coventry Libraries and Information Service now provides access to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) lets you explore the lives of over 58,500 people worldwide in an illustrated online collection of specially written biographies. This vast resource covers individuals who have shaped all aspects of British history, from the Romans to present day. Written by specialist authors, ODNB biographies introduce you to the people behind British history’s great events, as well as its literature, science, art, music, and ideas.

Originally launched with the complete text of the 60-volume Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the first 33-volume Dictionary of National Biography, the depth and breadth of the resource continues to expand with new biographies and research tools added throughout the year. Alongside the versatile search options, you can discover the wealth of content through themed articles, reference lists, special features, and learning resources.

User benefits

  • Quick and easy access to over 59,000 biographies of the people who have helped shape British history
  • Over 11,000 specialist contributors from 35 different countries
  • Custom built for biographical research with versatile search and browse options
  • Over 11,000 portrait illustrations (the largest collection ever published)
  • Regular updates add new biographies, themed articles, reference lists, learning resources, and podcasts

“Portals for the general reader need primarily to be accessible; for the specialist they need principally to be reliable: of those reviewed, the British Oxford DNB is pre-eminent because it is both.” - Reviews in History

You can use Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for free as part of your library membership. Not a member? Join the library.

How to use Oxford National Biography

Use Oxford National Biography online via the website


Library staff are available to help you use any e-resource provided by the library service. Don’t know where the library is? Find a library.

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Email libraries247@coventry.gov.uk