Save our Sounds is the British Library’s programme to preserve the nation’s sound heritage
The British nation’s sound collections are under threat, both from physical degradation and as the means of playing them disappear from production. Archival consensus internationally is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save our sound collections by digitising them before they become unreadable and are effectively lost.
The British Library is home to the British nation’s sound archive, an extraordinary collection of over 6.5 million recordings of speech, music, wildlife and the environment, from the 1880s to the present day. We need both to ensure that the existing archive is properly preserved, and that there are adequate systems in place for the acquisition of future sound production in the UK.
The Save our Sounds programme has been created to answer this imperative need. It has three major aims:
- to preserve as much as possible of the nation's rare and unique sound recordings, not just those in our collections but also key items from partner collections across the UK
- to establish a national radio archive that will collect, protect and share a substantial part of the UK’s vibrant radio output, working with the radio industry and other partners
- to invest in new technology to enable us to receive music in digital formats, working with music labels and industry partners to ensure their long-term preservation
UK Sound Directory
We are undertaking a national audit to map the condition of sound archives around the country and identify other threatened collections – if you have a sound collection which you think could be at risk, get in touch and let us know.
Support the project
Please get in touch with us if you would like to donate to support this project, or to discuss how you or your organisation can help preserve the nation’s audio heritage.
Our Sounds website has over 60,000 sound recordings for all to enjoy, covering the entire range of recorded sounds: music, drama and literature, oral history, wildlife and environmental sounds.
The British Library Sound Archive
There is more information on our Sound Archive and how to use its collections on our Help for Researchers pages.
Follow us on Twitter @soundarchive and use the hashtag #saveoursounds
Keep up with the latest news on Sounds through our Sound and vision blog.
- See more at: http://www.bl.uk/projects/save-our-sounds