The Dictionary was prepared by a project team of specialist researchers as a research project of the British Academy, overseen by a committee appointed by the Academy to direct its work. Initially based in London at the Public Record Office, the editorial team moved to Oxford in the early 1980s and since the late 1990s has formed part of the Faculty of Classics at Oxford University. Following the completion of the Dictionary in print at the end of 2013, the editorial team was greatly reduced, retaining only the Editor and Consultant Editor, and finally disbanded at the end of September 2014.
The project has a considerable history of its own: it began life and continues as the Academy's part of a Europe-wide scheme, first proposed in Britain in 1913 and subsequently established under the auspices of the International Union of Academies, to create a successor to the previous standard dictionary of medieval Latin, the Glossarium ... mediae et infimae Latinitatis, first compiled in the seventeenth century by the French scholar, Du Cange (Charles du Fresne). There have been a number of similar national projects across Europe under the same overall scheme, each responsible for preparing a dictionary of medieval Latin from their particular national sources; some of these, like the DMLBS, are ongoing, some have reached completion, and others ceased work before reaching completion.
The DMLBS project has been supported financially by major research grants from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Packard Humanities Institute, and the OUP John Fell Research Fund, and by a small annual grant from the British Academy. It also benefits from the institutional support of the British Academy and the University of Oxford.