|Wikisource:WikiProject DNB Pagefinding|
This page is a systematic guide to finding pages in the DNB, starting with a name. It contains information that will be of use to anyone
- wanting to work on or simply locate text of a given DNB biography;
- wanting to find the Volume Index of a given DNB volume directly;
- wanting to understand the relationship between page references in the 1885-1900 DNB and Wikisource's djvu page numbering; or
- wanting to convert between the 22-volume edition of the DNB and the original 63-volume edition, as far as page numbering is concerned.
Search and its limitations
One way that may be quick is to use search on the surname, using Advanced Search to restrict to the Page: namespace. This may fail if no text has yet been created for the page, if the text is badly scanned, or because the name is too common and throws up too many hits. Navigational methods are more robust, if not offering a very rapid solution, and can also determine quite definitely if an article is for some reason not there under the expected name.
The first column shows the volume corresponding to a surname (or personal name for royalty, medieval people and some other cases). It leads to the Volume Table of Contents (ToC), the Wikisource project page listing articles. The second column links to the initial page of a scan of the Volume Index, i.e. the index published in the DNB. Even if the link is red, the Index is still present (except where noted): the red links simply mean that the text page opposite is not yet created. Some of the scans are in bad shape, however.
The Volume Index provides the original page numbers (OP). Conversion to djvu page numbers (DP) is a separate topic.
Ordering of people sharing a name
The whole business of titling and ordering of articles in the DNB from 1885 is somewhat confusing as an area. For us, we are not generally concerned with the rationale of the page order, since the volume ToC obviously follows the DNB. Two points may come up:
- The DNB arranges people of the same name by date of death, basically, though the system in detail is a bit counter-intuitive when you throw in the conventions that are applied to missing and floruit dates. This will matter sometimes in searching for pages.
- What is done for names not of the surname, forenames type (all the "John de" and "John of" names, for example) was changed between the DNB Epitome and the later Concise version, which you may find in a library. You cannot rely implicitly on the Concise DNB for this issue, therefore, to predict the order in a bunch of medieval names, though in general it is a helpful reference.
If you don't have a precise page number to aim at, you should establish a range, and then subdivide it (bisection method). This normally is much quicker than using < and > in pagespace to move any distance. To set up the range, look in the volume ToC for articles preceding and following the one of interest. Where these are transclusions with the indented left margin, that margin shows djvu page numbers (DP), and tells you where in pagespace that article sits. Where the transclusion is done by the #section method, you can edit the page to read off the page numbers also. (Where there is no transclusion that particular article may not help, and you can choose another, or resort to some guesswork.) Getting a range of say 50 pages by establishing numbers on either side allows you to edit the browser line and get a range of 25, then a dozen, then 6, and shortly you get there by using < and >, by hook or by crook.
To convert from an original page number OP of a given volume V of the DNB to the djvu page number DP you need the formula
- DP = OP + offset(V).
The value of offset(1) is 14, offset(2) is 12, and generally it is in the range 4 to 14, most frequently being 6, except that the final volume 63 has a long introduction and there it is 24. For exact information see the column in Wikisource:WikiProject DNB/Progress, which also lists the cases where there has to be a caveat because the offset is not constant across the volume.
Numbering in the 22-volume edition
The edition in 22 volumes took the 63 volumes, put three to a volume of around 1400 pages for volumes I to XXI, and added the three 1901 Supplement volumes as volume XXII. The numbering in this edition is used, for example, by Gillian Fenwick, The Contributors' Index to the Dictionary of National Biography 1885-1901 (1989). This section may be of interest to anyone who needs to consult or reference the DNB in hard copy, as well as for the purposes of this project (for example involving the Fenwick book).
The conversion is simple only for volumes 1, 4, 7, etc. (no change in page number to convert for example volume VIII to volume 22). For the other volumes some numbers in the ranges near 450, respectively near 900, must be subtracted. This converts RomanP to OP, i.e. the Roman-numbered volumes' page numbering to the original page numbering. To get to the DP numbers used on this site you must still add the offset explained in the previous section.
|Conversions to |
|Vol. I||no change in vol. 1; −472 in vol. 2; −920 in vol. 3.|
|Vol. II||no change in vol. 4; −462 in vol. 5; −904 in vol. 6.|
|Vol. III||no change in vol. 7; −452 in vol. 8; −909 in vol. 9.|
|Vol. IV||no change in vol. 10; −456 in vol. 11; −925 in vol. 12.|
|Vol. V||no change in vol. 13; −450 in vol. 14; −905 in vol. 15.|
|Vol. VI||no change in vol. 16; −418 in vol. 17; −864 in vol. 18.|
|Vol. VII||no change in vol. 19; −440 in vol. 20; −879 in vol. 21.|
|Vol. VIII||no change in vol. 22; −443 in vol. 23; −884 in vol. 24.|
|Vol. IX||no change in vol. 25; −450 in vol. 26; −894 in vol. 27.|
|Vol. X||no change in vol. 28; −437 in vol. 29; −888 in vol. 30.|
|Vol. XI||no change in vol. 31; −441 in vol. 32; −879 in vol. 33.|
|Vol. XII||no change in vol. 34; −444 in vol. 35; −885 in vol. 36.|
|Vol. XIII||no change in vol. 37; −448 in vol. 38; −895 in vol. 39.|
|Vol. XIV||no change in vol. 40; −445 in vol. 41; −894 in vol. 42.|
|Vol. XV||no change in vol. 43; −445 in vol. 44; −886 in vol. 45.|
|Vol. XVI||no change in vol. 46; −443 in vol. 47; −886 in vol. 48.|
|Vol. XVII||no change in vol. 49; −489 in vol. 50; −938 in vol. 51.|
|Vol. XVIII||no change in vol. 52; −408 in vol. 53; −887 in vol. 54.|
|Vol. XIX||no change in vol. 55; −480 in vol. 56; −927 in vol. 57.|
|Vol. XX||no change in vol. 58; −457 in vol. 59; −911 in vol. 60.|
|Vol. XXI||no change in vol. 61; −471 in vol. 62; −915 in vol. 63.|
- This edition appeared in 1908, apparently including the 1904 Errata, edited in to preserve the page numbering. It is possible that the requirements of combining volumes make the conversion slightly inaccurate in some places. For volumes 4n + 2 the number in the secod column is almost the same as the page number before the Index starts in 4n + 1, so approximate numbers could be read from the first table on the page.
- This book appears to be available online, at hugely varying prices. It has two dozen pages of introductory material, then a detailed per-author listing of articles. There are no biographical details of authors, just 400 pages of listings. It seems accurate except for some spelling mistakes.