The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0093 Thursday, 7 March 2013
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Subject: ODNB Free Content
Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers,
There have not been any submissions in the past week, so I thought I would share some thoughts regarding a resource I am quite fond: the free content at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site.
As a subscriber to Lives of the week, I receive an ODNB entry every weekday. Since I have little knowledge of UK footballers or cricket players, I seldom read these lives, but when the biography is of someone from pre-1660 Britain or a poet, playwright, actor, or person associated with Shakespeare studies I read with interest: http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/lotw/ . If you are not a subscriber, you can receive the lives either delivered daily by email or RSS feed by clicking the appropriate link here or on the homepage: http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/index.html
The Lives of the week are only a fraction of the free content at the ODNB site.
As a part of the celebration of Poetry by Heart, an England-wide competition giving students in years 10-13 the chance to read, memorize, and recite poems, there are works by 132 poets, spanning more than 600 years. Currently, as a tie-in to Poetry by Heart, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and The American National Biography online are making available biographies of poets with entries in the dictionary from The Gawain Poet (fl.1375-1400) to Ursula Fanthorpe (1929-2009), including Peter Holland’s wonderful biography of Shakespeare. American poets in the American National Biography range from Emily Dickenson and Walt Whitman to Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Claude McKay, Robert Frost, and Allen Ginsburg. All these can be found in links on the Poetry by Heart timeline: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk.
UK Public Library users may be able to obtain online access from home as can many at universities with subscriptions.
However, the rest of us need not despair too much since many useful items can be found on the ODNB’s Open Shelves: http://www.oup.com/oxforddnb/info/freeodnb/shelves/ These include themes, featured essays, reference groups and lists, and galleries including links off of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover: http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/sgtpepper/ This page is great fun for those of us in various states of mind who have spent hours staring at the cover trying to identify the figures.
I hope that some will find this posting useful and that others might be inspired to submit to keep me busy.