Audio Archives

British Library Sounds

Person Describing Archive

Annie Murray (2010); Chelsea Obodoechina (2020)

Is this primarily a poetry audio site?


Sponsoring Person or Institution

British Library

Site URL

Site Last Updated


Date Visited


General Description of Archive

BL's audio archive, tens of thousands of recordings, including spoken word. NOTE: this doesn't have poetry, per se, it is just an interesting audio archive.

Description of archive history or URL

Contact information

Searchable options

no advanced searching options, just keyword searches, does not support Boolean, you can limit to a particular collection/type of recording, they plan to add more search features in the future

Relation from the audio to the text

certain recordings also have transcripts but they open in a separate PDF

Date/Time/Length/Context info about the audio items

"Metadata fields are typically the name of the recording, the date it was recorded, where it was recorded, who recorded it,
who is performing or speaking,
a brief description of the contents - metadata encoded in METS, follows Dublin Core"

Author bios and context within literary history


Audio file type: streaming, download, file format, audio file compression quality (WAV, MP3, bitrate)

"To make access possible from this website, [.wav] files were converted to compressed formats: .wma for streaming (listening directly from the website) and .mp3 for downloads."

Multimedia integration (pictures, video, etc.)

no , just audio files

Audio playback setup (opens in Flash player, on new blank screen, etc.)

custom Britsh Library Audio Player that stays in same screen as metadata about item, basic stop/start and volume control

Mobile access (i.e. accessible on smart phones, tablets, etc.)

Accessible via smart phones and tablets. Page functions just as it does on the browser.


browse by type of audio recording (music, spoeknw ords, etc,), then by artist and date. there are different browsable fields depending on the type of the recording.

Discovery features (pre-made playlists; dynamic lists: lists of recent additions, featured items, related items, etc).
Interactivity and Web 2.0 features

useful features for users who are logged in and belong to institutions with licences, general public users have limited opportunity to interact. registered users can mark favourites, add tags, add notes and details about the recordings

Other notes