Who's Who

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Who's Who (or "Who is Who") is the title of a number of reference publications, generally containing concise biographical information on the prominent people of a country. The title has been adopted as an expression meaning a group of notable persons. The oldest and best-known is the annual publication Who's Who, a reference work on contemporary prominent people in Britain published annually since 1849.

Notable examples by country[edit]

  • Who's Who, the oldest listing of prominent British people since 1849; people who have died since 1897 are listed in Who Was Who.
  • Cambridge Who's Who (also known as Worldwide Who's Who), a vanity publisher based in Uniondale, New York.
  • Marquis Who's Who, a series of books published since 1899 by Marquis, primarily listing prominent American people, but including Who's Who in the World.
  • Who's Who in New Zealand, twelve editions published at irregular intervals between 1908 and 1991
  • Canadian Who's Who, a listing of prominent Canadians since 1910
  • Who's Who in Switzerland, published from 1953 to 1996 and then Swiss Who's Who, a listing of prominent Swiss or leading figures living in Switzerland since 2015[1]
  • Who's Who in Australia, a listing of prominent Australians since 1923
  • Who's Who in France, a listing of prominent French or people living in France since 1953 (in French)
  • Who's Who in Scotland, a listing of prominent Scots since 1986
  • Who's Who, by Metron Publications, a listing of prominent Greeks since 1992
  • Who's Who of Southern Africa, published in paper form until 2007 when it was replaced by a website

Non-English publications[edit]

The Danish Kraks Blå Bog (1912)
The Swedish Vem är det (1969)

Some Who's Who books have a title in the language of the country concerned:

Specialised publications[edit]

Other publications[edit]

The title "Who's Who" is in the public domain, and thousands of Who's Who compilations of varying scope and quality (and similar publications without the words "Who's Who") have been published by various authors and publishers. Some publications have been described as scams; they list any people likely to buy the book, or to pay for inclusion, with no criterion of genuine notability.[4] They may offer vanity awards[5] or expensive trophies.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Le retour du "Who's who" suisse après vingt ans d'absence". Letemps.ch. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  2. ^ "Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur | Recherche | Biographische Datenbanken". Stiftung-aufarbeitung.de. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  3. ^ "Kas yra kas Lietuvoje 2018". www.kasyrakas.lt.
  4. ^ Kirchheimer, Sid. "Who's Who Directory Scams with vanity publishers, fame and honors can cost you a small fortune". aarp.org. American Association of Retired People. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  5. ^ Gewirtz, David (March 9, 2020). "Oh, you won an award? Don't click that vanity scam spam link". ZDNet. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  6. ^ Harris, Sheryl (January 12, 2019). "That 'Who's Who' invite aims at your ego -- and your wallet: Plain Dealing". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved October 27, 2021.