Where are we going? The Dictionary of Mormon Biography

By May 10, 2013

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity at the Dictionary of Mormon Biography (see this post for context). Since hatching the idea, I’ve gone from building a prototype site to rolling out a full Mediawiki instance to mormonbiography.org. A few things in review:

  • I secured the mormonbiography.org domain! This will help drive traffic to the site and build a research community for the project.
  • In April, I had a database meltdown and lost most of what was added to the previous site <sadface/>, but the new site is running smoothly.
  • The site currently has over 60 articles and now has a small group of registered researchers contributing to the project! A tip of the hat to Ardis Parshall, Kent Larsen, Bruce Crow, and David Morris for joining the ranks.
  • I am trying to ensure that the content is not a “sausage fest” by culling records from various resources, especially since the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (the original biographical source for the project) has little female representation within its pages. I am very much open to suggestions for resources to draw upon. See our current list of source projects here.

Also, a few interesting pages to check out:

Obviously, there is a lot of work to do and I’m encouraged to have the Mormon history/Mormon studies community’s interest. I think we can provide an excellent service to researchers, professional and amateur alike, to begin or continue online and offline research of Mormon subjects by building out a robust database within the Dictionary of Mormon Biography.

Imagine there was a place on the web where you as a researcher to find nearly any historical person in Mormonism and a brief explanation of their life with appended references to every known primary and secondary source for that person. This is what I want to accomplish with the DMB and I hope you’ll spend a few minutes here and there to make it a reality with me.


The Dictionary of Mormon Biography is on Facebook and you can also join the discussion in the Google Group.

Article filed under Digital Humanities


  1. Tod, you’re doing phenomenal work. Thanks for keeping us posted!

    Comment by J Stuart — May 10, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  2. I am very much open to suggestions for resources to draw upon.

    Are you looking mainly for resources available online or would you also like suggestions for print only resources?

    Comment by Katya — May 10, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  3. Katya,

    Both. I currently have limited access to research libraries or decent ILL so I’ve mainly been focusing on those resources I can view online, transcribe/copy & paste, but that’s been my workflow as of late.

    Feel free to create an account and add references to the Community Portal page or on the Facebook page/Google Group. Whatever you fancy.

    Comment by Tod R. — May 10, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

  4. This is a wonderful project and will be a great addition to Mormon scholarship. I have a few questions and suggestions.

    First, you should definitely put a purpose/vision statement up on the site. From your two posts here at JI I think you lay out a good idea of what you want to do, but I think you also need a statement on the actual site.

    Second, how detailed do you want the biographies to be? Are you going for short and concise, like in Jenson’s Encyclopedia, or for more detail, like the new Women of Faith in the Latter-days? (Which would also be a good source to add to your list.)

    Also, I think that Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude would be another great addition to your source list and would somewhat help the gender imbalance.

    Comment by Tyson T. — May 13, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

  5. I dont know if this site is active as I ran acrosit looking for some thing else but It looks like a potential resource for more women’s stories.


    Comment by Joseph M — May 14, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  6. Thank you Tyson and Joseph for the suggestions. We are currently forming a working group to hammer out the statement of purpose and come up with a style guide for articles.

    Stay tuned!

    Comment by Tod Robbins — May 23, 2013 @ 11:57 am


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