Searches can be both broadly made and then refined. A full text search, for example, can be narrowed down to only search for place names. Advanced searching can also seek people in innovative ways. Some examples given by the DNB include people:
- Killed at the battle of AgincourtPainted by Holbein
- Born in Cornwall before 1600
- Neighbours in Edinburgh's Princes Street
- Nineteenth-century women explorers
- Buried in Highgate cemetery
- Artists educated at the Slade in the twentieth century
- Musicians who lived in New York
- Alexander Bassano (1829-1913): one of Victorian England's leading portrait photographers who captured numerous stars of the arts, as well as politicians and members of the royal family. More than 200 portraits by Bassano illustrate the DNB.
- Walter Stoneman (1876-1958): appointed curator of the National Portrait Gallery's national photographic record in 1917, Stoneman captured the images of 40,000 influential Britons.
- John French (1907-1966): a pioneering newspaper fashion photographer, French's quest for perfection inspired his assistants Terence Donovan and David Bailey.
- Sagar Mitchell (1866-1952) and James Kenyon (1850-1925): their recently discovered films of industrial Lancashire, shown by the BBC in 2005, introduce a modern audience to a previously lost world.
All of these photographers, and their images, and the subjects of their images, are entirely electronically cross-referenced and searchable on the DNB.
For real biography junkies, the DNB will email you a new biography every day and has cumulative "Lives of the Week". And for browsers, the DNB allows browsing alphabetically and chronologically. Reference lists allow you to select office holders, such as "Lord Chancellors of England and Great Britain". Every item that is listed is linked to its full-text biography.