GENERAL DATABASE OF THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF THE CZECH LANDS
The General Database of the Biographical Dictionary of the Czech Lands has been compiled since 1990 to serve as the basis for the publication of a universal bibliographical dictionary. The dictionary’s aim is to provide essential information, verified by competent scholars, on the lives, activities and works of important Bohemian, Moravian and Silesian personalities throughout recorded history, especially in the domains of politics and policy, society, economics, technology, science and culture. From its very beginnings, the database was to be a longitudinal project involving the work of multiple generations of scholars and important living personalities were thus included in its scope in addition to people who were no longer alive. Originally, the database was only a card catalogue of the important biographical data of the persons included, brief descriptions of their jobs and basic relevant bibliography. However, already in the 1990s the card catalogue would be gradually transformed into a database, accessible at the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences. In late 2014, the editors of the Biographical Dictionary of the Czech Lands decided to make the General Database accessible to the general public through a portal, which has been operating since mid-2015.
The database includes personalities born and active over most of their lives in the Czech lands, regardless of their ethnicity. It also features persons who had important professional careers abroad as well as those who were born abroad but whose activities had significant impact in the Czech context. To date, the database contains basic information on about 51,000 living and deceased personalities. The database is a work in progress, which means that it is constantly being extended and improved, with new data collected and additions made. Only the biograms of selected personalities are then published in the Biographical Dictionary of the Czech Lands, with the importance and closure of their work (i.e. death) applied as selection criteria. Personalities are also included in the Dictionary after a certain period time has passed after their death. For volumes 1 to 15, the boundary year for inclusion was 2000 (i.e. persons would have to be deceased as of that year to be included). From volume 16 onwards, the boundary year was changed to and currently stands at 2010. The Biographical Dictionary of the Czech Lands has been published since 2004 in printed brochures. Currently, one volume is published every year, with volume 23 published in 2020 (including the letters Hav to Hel). The first 15 volumes were published by Libri, volume 16 and beyond by Academia in collaboration with the publishing house of the Institute of History. The contents of the first 15 volumes (no longer available in print) were published on this website in 2016, and the biograms included therein are thus accessible here. Volumes 16 and beyond are gradually being included in the electronic version of the Dictionary about a year after their publication in print. The electronic version of the Dictionary is also being progressively corrected and improved and portraits and other images are added to its entries.
Functions and commands
External users can search for individual persons alphabetically or based on their dates of birth and death, browse the alphabetical list of entries and combine commands to search for persons based on their profession and importance.
The database is aimed at the general public and all people interested in important personalities connected with the Czech lands. It offers basic information on biographical data and the areas of activity of both living and deceased persons. Biographical entries can also be filtered by importance or profession by combining commands in advanced search. The editors of the Biographical Dictionary also welcome feedback from and invite external users to help us add missing information and correct any errors.
Historický ústav AV ČR, v. v. i.
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