Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/DNB

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The original Dictionary of National Biography (DNB), a 63-volume British biographical dictionary was published 1885-1900 and supplemented in 1901 and 1912. It comprises more than 30,000 biographies. The aim of this project is to create new articles here, certainly, but also to use DNB material to develop stub articles and in other appropriate ways; simply referencing the DNB can clear away an {{unreferenced}} tag. The mechanics are set out at the lists discussion and can be debated at the talk page there.

Earlier efforts used several methods to identify needed WP articles, but all DNB articles are now (as of 2013) available at Wikisource, and each Wikisource article whose subject has a WP article links to the WP article. Therefore, the current goal of this "missing articles" sub-project is to add WP articles for every DNB article that currently does not have an associated WP article. A few of the DNB subjects may not meet the current consensus criteria for notability, but in general, the vetting process for the original DNB was more rigorous for its time than today's WP notability process, so we should probably assume that any subject of a DNB article is still notable (once notable, always notable.)

Earlier in this sub-project's history, we used multiple methods to find DNB subjects that need articles. Now that all DNB articles are available at Wikisource, we have a dramatically simplified system. The Wikisource templates automatically maintain a category that contains all DNB articles that do not have a link to a WP article. This category can be found at s:Category:DNB No WP. As of July 2014, that category has about 7600 entries. The remaining 22,000 or so subjects already have WP articles.

The goal of this WP missing articles subproject is therefore simple: Add a WP article for each of the subjects in s:Category:DNB No WP and reduce its population to zero. The mechanics of adding an article on a subject can be found at WP:WP DNB. After you have added the WP article, you remove the subject from the category by editing the DNB subject article at Wikisource to add the WP article link to that article's header template.

Wikisource DNB project

The Wikisource DNB project is described at DNB project page. The Wikisource project and the Wikipedia project are highly complementary, but the two projects have different goals. The WP project aims to use DNB material, either by direct incorporation or by reference, to expand Wikipedia. The WS project aims to produce a letter-perfect copy of each article in the DNB, to post the Errata volumes, and to include the Supplement of 1901.

Concise DNB and the Epitome pages

The DNB publishers produced abridged versions of the work that were useful to this "missing articles" subproject before all the articles became available at Wikisource, and use of these resources drove much of the development of the missing articles. These are no longer relevant to the project.

Scans and adaptation of the original DNB

Early in the project, finding the best scans of the DNB on the web was a heroic effort, involving a huge amount of time and analysis. This is no longer relevant for this project as the resulting "best scans" have now been copied to Wikisource and converted to DNB articles at Wikisource.


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