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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 00:30 GMT
Pricey update to biog dictionary
George Harrison
George Harrison is one of those named in the new dictionary
Nearly 200 names have been added to the definitive list of those who have made an impact on society.

The lives of 195 people who died up to the end of 2001,including Beatle George Harrison, have been added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The book includes biographies of kings, queens, celebrities, philosophers, assassins, builders and scientists.

It has taken 12 years and more than 25m to update the dictionary, which costs 7,500.

Alongside ex-Beatle Harrison are showbiz luminaries including Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams, Goon Show founder Sir Harry Secombe, and Yes, Minister star Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

'Noteworthy lives'

Among other notables are Concorde test pilot Brian Trubshaw, chemist Herchel Smith, whose research led to the manufacture of the contraceptive pill, and Harold Davis, otherwise known as high-wire walker the Great Alzana.

Dictionary editor Lawrence Goldman said: "The dictionary is a record of people who were once our contemporaries and who shaped the society in which we now live.

"Their biographies will add to the collection of noteworthy lives, dating back over 2,000 years."

The British Academy gave 3.7 million to initially update the dictionary, which was founded in 1882 by Leslie Stephen, father of author Virginia Woolf.

A team of researchers now reviews the content of the 60-volume publication three times a year.

Publisher the Oxford University Press, which invested the rest of the cash, has written off any chances of making any money back on the 60-volume dictionary, mostly due to its 7,500 price tag.

It is available online or at libraries.


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