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Changes to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) recently unveiled a new look and new features. ODNB is one of the best resources for anyone interested in the history and culture of Britain and its former Empire. Here are a few changes worth knowing. 


If you have logged in via the Library you do not need to login for a second time. The 'Sign In' options on the left-hand side are for creating a personal account with the ODNB; it doesn't unlock the content for you. (It could be a good idea to create an account however, as it will allow you to save searches and annotations.) 
ODNB already knows I am from Leicester.

There are more ways to browse the content.

 You can now browse biographies by Occupation and Religious Affiliation. For example, browsing by Occupation > Law and crime > Crimes of deception reveals 90 biographies of forgers, fraudsters and swindlers. This includes the intriguing entry for "Carter, Henry [Harry] (1749 1829), smuggler and Methodist preacher".  

Reference groups, reference lists and themed essays

The contextual material is now listed under Tools and Resources > Themes. Here you can find essays on historical groups like 'Salem witches and their accusers'; authoritative lists, such as Captains of the England cricket team; and broader contextual essays e.g. Britons in south-east Asia. 

More Advanced search options

You can now search the biographies on many more criteria than before, including: aristocratic title, organisation, archive and wealth at death. 

You can also search the entries by Life Event e.g. Baptism or Burial. This will be useful for anyone interested in families and demography. 

One small plea to the team at OUP: please could we have the link to the advanced search on the home page!

Download references and cite 

Clicking on the Cite option near the title of an entry will create a copy-able citation in APA, MLA or Chicago. There are also options to download references for RefWorks, EndNote and Zotero. 

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Inserting Citations & References into PowerPoint with EndNote

EndNote X7, which is available on University computers, now has a toolbar for inserting citations and references into PowerPoint.

1)    Open up PowerPoint and place your cursor where you wish to insert a citation or a reference.
2)    Click on the EndNote X7 tab.
3)    Choose the reference style you want to use from the drop-down menu.
4)    Click Insert Citation or Insert Reference
5)    Search for the reference you want or search on * to bring up a list of all your references.
6)    Click on Insert.

You will need to insert the citation and the references separately as this is not a Cite While You Write toolbar like the one in Word.

Inserting special characters in EndNote/RefWorks

When importing references into software like EndNote or RefWorks you might find special characters and diacritical marks are stripped out.

You can edit the reference in the software and re-insert the appropriate character in several ways:
1) Copy and past the character in.

2) If you using a Windows computer with a number pad you can hold down the ALT key and type in a numerical code for the character you want e.g. ALT 130 will insert é.

There is a list of Alt Codes available at

Penn State University has an excellent guide to typing in accents and special characters in Windows or Macs. Including Alt codes, Mac codes and how to use the character map/viewer.

These tips can also be applied in other software and web interfaces, as well as in bibliographic software. ☺ = ALT 1

Searching the fulltext of PDFs in EndNote

Did you know that you can search across the full text of PDF articles within EndNote desktop?

First get the PDFs into EndNote:

- Import references from literature databases.

- Use the 'Find Full Text' feature.

- Set-up the 'OpenURL Link' Feature.

Choose the references you wish to search and set the search field to PDF: