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Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu

This is Wikidata's WikiProject DNB. The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published from 1885.[1] There are about 30,000 entries of the Dictionary of National Biography (Q1210343) available at WikiSource:Dictionary of National Biography.

At the start of this project:

  • some article at Wikisource are linked directly as sitelinks from Wikidata items about their subject
  • most entries are linked from separate Wikidata items. Hardly any of these are cross-referenced to their subject at Wikidata.
  • many entries are cross-referenced directly at English Wikipedia or Wikisource.


  • define a Wikidata scheme for DNB entries at Wikisource
  • index and cross-reference all DNB entries at WikiSource, import from Wikisource or Wikipedia if possible
  • list all steps needed, potentially providing guidance for other works at WikiSource


WikiData Items and SitelinksEdit

DNB biographies in wikisource do appear to be the same type of thing as wikipedia articles so, at first glance it would seem appropriate to use a sitelink to link the DNB biography to the same Wikidata item as the the associated wikipedia article. We do not do that for two reasons.

  1. Wikisource pages are each about a document and the associated wikidata item should give the details of that document. If the document is about a particular topic or object or thing described in wikidata then the item for the wikisources document should be linked to that item but they are different items.
  2. Wikisource contains multiple encyclopedias and biographical dictionaries and in many cases will have more than one biography of the same historical personage. Due to technical limitations of the design of wikidata (they want articles to have only one outgoing language link in each language) we can only have one sitelink from each language version of wikisource to a wikidata item. This means that, where there is more than one biography of a person on wikisource then each of these biographies will have to be linked to a different wikidata item.



List of random entriesEdit

Examples : DNB entryEdit

Model item ‘Plantagenet,’ Edward (Q19019224)    

Item ‘Plantagenet,’ Edward (Q19019224)    
Label ‘Plantagenet,’ Edward (DNB00)
Description entry in Dictionary of National Biography
<main subject (P921) : Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (Q452639)>
<instance of (P31) : biographical article (Q19389637)>
<published in (P1433) : Dictionary of National Biography (1885–1900) (Q15987216)>;
(volume (P478) : '45'), (chapter (P792) : 'Plantagenet, Edward')
<author (P50) : James Tait (Q15820749)>
Item Hutchinson, Lucy (DNB00) (Q19055447)    
Label Hutchinson, Lucy (DNB00)
Description DNB redirect
<main subject (P921) : Lucy Hutchinson (Q6698372)>
<instance of (P31) : DNB redirect page (Q19648608)>
<published in (P1433) : Dictionary of National Biography (1885–1900) (Q15987216)>;
  • Note that the value for chapter (P792) has string datatype and you should put the name of the DNB biography exactly as given in the DNB here.
  • Label matches the string of the wikisource sitelink

Examples : Subject of DNB entryEdit

Item Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (Q452639)    
<instance of (P31) : human (Q5)>
<described by source (P1343) : Dictionary of National Biography (1885–1900) (Q15987216)>;
(<statement is subject of (P805) : ‘Plantagenet,’ Edward (Q19019224)>)

Note that <instance of (P31) : human (Q5)> should only be used for individuals. If an item is about a group of persons then use group of humans (Q16334295) or one of its subclasses.



25 March 2015
Category Wikisource:Category:DNB biographies
Items [2]
Items with main subject (P921)
Items with instance of (P31)
Items with instance of (P31) = biographical article (Q19389637)
Items with instance of (P31) = human (Q5)
Items without instance of (P31) = human (Q5)
Items with published in (P1433)
Items with author (P50)