In struggling to express the importance of Domesday Book as a source, a student on the Special Subject course at Hull described it as 'a skyscraper towering amidst mud huts', a poetic flight of fancy which was less than just to the sophistication of Anglo-Saxon charters, royal writs, and chronicles. Still, he erred in the right direction in emphasising the scale of Domesday's contribution to our historical knowledge. Serious historians have seriously asked the question 'what would we know without Domesday?', replying, in effect, 'very little'. For the late Anglo-Saxon period, and for early Norman England, Domesday is indispensable; but it is also the most important source on many major subjects for five centuries of Anglo-Saxon history, and has even been pressed into service for aspects of Roman and Celtic history.
The bibliography on Domesday Book is therefore massive. Only a minority of publications on Anglo-Saxon history do not depend on it in some way. In 1986, David Bates listed almost 2,000 items in his Bibliography of Domesday Book; but his list was essentially of publications which focussed directly upon Domesday Book, largely excluding those which simply used it. The relevant literature would therefore include several thousand more items. Almost everything of significance published down to 1992 is itemised in Royal Historical Society bibliography on CD ROM: Britain, Ireland, and the British overseas (1998), and subsequent publications are listed annually in the Royal Historical Society's Annual bibliography of British and Irish history (1975-2002), now online as the Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH): http://www.brepols.net/publishers/pdf/Brepolis_BBIH_EN.pdf
This bibliography is therefore a guide rather than a comprehensive listing. One major omission is most of the work on specifically local history, for which the bibliography by David Bates is indispensable.
Given the volume of publications, finding relevant material can also be problematic. To assist the reader, the more important works have been divided into two major groups, each subdivided into broad subject areas, with a brief comment on their nature and value. Finally, an alphabetical listing of these and other items is supplied for easy reference: