Directory of UK Sound Collections

29 Oct

As some of you may remember, earlier in the year i put forward this blogs details to the British Library who had decided to start a directory of individuals and institutions who were actively archiving audio, of any type. I have already posted that the blog was accepted, but today i received notification that the directory has been officially published, and at 661 pages it’s a stunning document listing the work being done in the UK to archive audio/sounds.

If your interested in their work, the website is here


17 Responses to “Directory of UK Sound Collections”

  1. kilg0retr0ut November 26, 2015 at 20:02 #

    Congratulations OD! Say hello to posterity… in quad 😉

  2. rayc2 November 23, 2015 at 06:20 #

    Great resource. I look forward to searching through – I do enjoy archives.

  3. atq October 30, 2015 at 10:18 #

    Congrats on being accepted. What a shame they have mangled your description – it’s not going to help promote the collection if people can’t understand what it is.

  4. Owen Smith October 29, 2015 at 22:27 #

    I looked the Quad archive up in the document. I’m surprised to see you claim 300 vinyl and 60 audio CDs. How does 360 albums turn into DS531 and counting? I can see there’s a bit of room for discrepancy with transfers other people have done eg. Malcolm’s CD-4, but you’ve released nearly 200 more. How does that happen?

    Also there seems to be some missing text in your entry, it doesn’t read correctly and never mentions the 1970s apart from about the end of the decade. Also the word matrix seems intended to make an appearance but doesn’t. Are these your typos or theirs?

    You are the only library to mention quad in the entire directory. Now that’s more than a little sad. We have to assume major libraries like the British Library have some, but for no-one else to even mention it is a shame.

    Still, it’s an enormous amazing document of musical archives all over the UK.

    Some of the formats people hold things in are amazing. I just searched for “cylinder” to find all the libraries holding wax cylinders. What, I have to ask, is a “Stenorette”? The British Library hold some. Then there’s the chap with 10,000 78s, most pre 1930. Copper discs, magnetic discs (must look both of those up to find out what they are), Dicatbelt, the glorious variety never ends. Even a few wire recordings. It all makes quad, even CD-4 look rather simple and modern. Ooh, Zonophone! What a great word, I wonder what it is?

    Rarest format? Appears to be DCC (Digital Compact Cassette), the British Library hold 5 and no-one else lists any.

    • oxforddickie October 29, 2015 at 23:11 #

      DCC came and went so fast most don’t even know of its existence.

      They edited my write-up, obviously they needed to make some restrictions or it would have been even bigger.

      Not sure about the number of LP’s, certainly not right, they are everywhere. They’ve even started to take over the book shelves, so that figure is definitely wrong. But i’d say the CD’s was correct at that time, but nothing like the number i now have. Again, space is starting to become a problem, and the Archive itself… let’s not even go there, am going to have to convert a cupboard for that.

      It is a stunning document, it shows how much would be lost, especially the pre/early 20th century material, would be lost were it not for those individuals commuting their time to save them for the future.

    • Owen Smith October 29, 2015 at 23:34 #

      I definitely saw a pictue of the Philips DCC deck in What Hi-Fi magazine, it could play both analogue and digital cassettes (not sure if it could record analogue). I think they reviewed it, but I can’t be certain with the passage of time. I suspect this was the only DCC deck model, why anyone else would make one or why Philips would make a second model would be a total mystery.

    • Beechwoods (@Beechwoods_) October 30, 2015 at 10:11 #

      I have a Stenorette – it looks just like the one here: – it was an open-reel recorder designed for dictation, which came with a proprietary hybrid ‘cassette’ reel.

      Quite an interesting little dead-end from the time before compact cassette became king.

      Talking dead-ends, I also have a lovely Elcaset EL-7 which uses what look like magnified / VHS sized regular cassettes! Fantastic quality at 3 3/4ips on chrome tape stock (better than open reel at 3 3/4 and with a lovely solid transport…). I went through a phase of wanting to save these old formats from extinction, though I now realise I’m very much not the only one!

      • oxforddickie October 30, 2015 at 17:32 #

        Was impressed with the Elcaset when it appeared, but i guess it was too late in the day, plus the size of the cassette itself was a bit of a downer.

      • Owen Smith October 30, 2015 at 19:38 #

        My dad had a Sony hifi catalogue when I was growing up in the 1970s. I loved looking at the Elcassette machines in it, and the cabled remote controls with the huge multi pin plug.

    • Alfie November 2, 2015 at 12:34 #

      I expect the British Library will have pretty much all quadraphonic recordings in their various formats, although I don’t know if they’re catalogued as such or just filed with the regular stereo versions.

      • oxforddickie November 2, 2015 at 13:35 #

        Actually they don’t appear to

        • Alfie November 3, 2015 at 11:59 #

          I was just reading up on it. It appears you’re right and there is no mandatory legal deposit that I can find reference to similar to that required of book publishers. Another reason the work you do is so valuable.

          • oxforddickie November 3, 2015 at 12:24 #

            I’m actually in the middle of writing one of my long dyretripes on this subject

  5. daveede October 29, 2015 at 20:48 #

    Mazel Tov!

  6. qrx9001 October 29, 2015 at 20:36 #

    Congratulations, Richard, This is acknowledgement of all of the research and work you have done to preserve and important but largely forgotten chapter in the history of music and recording technology. Your followers truly appreciate your efforts and applaud the recognition you have richly deserved.

  7. Beechwoods (@Beechwoods_) October 29, 2015 at 20:23 #

    Fantastic news, well done, OD!

    • jschuerm October 29, 2015 at 20:44 #

      This is great! A fascinating document.

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