The Dictionary of National Biography, published between 1885 and 1900, was one of Britain's biggest cyclopedia projects. The rampant expansion of the nation's archives, private collections, and museums produced an abundance of materials that frustrated the dictionary's editors, Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, especially because methodologies for making order of such materials were underdeveloped. Adding to their frustration was the sense of impending doom felt generally in Britain after the discovery of the second law of thermodynamics in 1859. Entropy put an end to the presiding belief in the infinite energy that fueled Britain's economic development and therefore challenged Victorian biography's premise that the capacity for self-development was boundless. Like the physicists of the era, these dictionary makers searched for ways to circumvent entropy's deadening force and reenergize their world. This project would not actually be achieved, however, until the twentieth century when Claude Shannon published his “Information Theory” in 1948. I argue that in an attempt to get out from under the chaos of information overload, the editors of the DNB invented new methods to organize information that anticipated Shannon's revolutionary theory and changed the way that we think, write, and work.