The Austrian Biographical Dictionary (ÖBL) continues a tradition of biographical entries that goes back to Constantin von Wurzbach and his 60-volume work, ‘Biographical Dictionary of the Austrian Empire’ (published in 1856–1891). During the First World War, preliminary work already began on a sequel to Wurzbach’s dictionary; after the end of the Second World War, the 'Commission for the Development of an Austrian Biographical Dictionary’ was foundet at the OeAW. This commission was converted into the institute 'Austrian Biographical Dictionary and Biographical Documentation’ at the Austrian Academy of Sciences on 1 January 1994. On 1 January 2013, the 'Austrian Biographical Dictionary’ (ÖBL) was incorporated into the newly founded Institute of Modern and Contemporary History and on 1 January 2020 it became part of the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

The Austrian Biographical Dictionary is the only encyclopaedic work in Europe to record the life courses and career paths of prominent personalities in the entire territory of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as well as in the First and Second Republics. In selecting the entries, we are committed to taking individuals into account who do not hold a prominent place in public consciousness.

The printed edition comprises 16 volumes (73 instalments) with almost 20.000 biographies. The most recent was published in December 2022 and ranges from 'Zeman Antonín' to 'Zycha Marianne Emilie'. In 2004, additionally to the work on the printed volumes, construction of an online edition was initiated. Since July 2009, this open access version has been accessible on the Internet. In addition to full text search, it also offers in-depth search options as well as supplementary image material and further links. The online edition of the ÖBL will be continued after the end of the print edition.

More information on the ÖBL:

Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon