Audio Archives

Ubu Web

Person Describing Archive

Celyn Harding Jones , Jared Wiercinski (2010); Chelsea Obodoechina (2020)

Is this primarily a poetry audio site?

Y (Originally it was primarily sound, now contains images, text, video, etc.)

Sponsoring Person or Institution

Kenneth Goldsmith: Interesting to note that there are no academic institutions sponsoring (monetarily) so Ubuweb continues to be 'autonomous'. However, listed "Partners" include: WFMU, PennSound, The Center for Literary Computing at West Virginia University, Artmob, Continuo, Electra, Roulette, SoundEye. NO money has been donated or invested in the site other than Kenny's 50$/month web hosting fee.

Site URL

Site Last Updated
Date Visited


General Description of Archive

UBUWEB is a resource or archive of avant guard and concrete poetry, sound, performance, texts and videos. It has been called the definitive source for Visual, Concrete and Sound Poetry. The archive is added to as often as possible, and these new additions are posted on a sidebar. There are also featured items on the main page. There are separate collections like the Conceptual writing electronic anthology, "Contemporary", which is a site devoted to contemporary writers, etc which are curated by individuals. Important to note that it curates and distributes materials, but very rarely does ubuweb upload their own material.

Description of archive history or URL

Founded in November 1996, as a repository for visual, concrete and later, sound poetry by Kenneth Goldsmith.

Contact information

Kenneth Goldsmith, Jeremy Fisher, (Managing Editor) and Margaret Smith (Archivist).

Searchable options

Simple Search bar at the top left of the screen, where you can type in a name, title of a work, or a keyword and a google-like search occurs that shows every instance of the word searched. (Eg. Search of the word "Ping" (title of a Beckett piece) also pulls up a paper that has the words "ping-pong table" in it). This kind of search allows items that would be in an index to be searched easily, without having the index itself. (There are pro's and con's of not having a listed index also).

Relation from the audio to the text

I will look at this in the UBUWEB: SOUND entry that follows.

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


Author bios and context within literary history


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

Podcasts are in mp3 format, you can stream them or download them. Downloading is suggested, as they will not be stored on the internet forever.

Multimedia integration (pictures, video, etc.)

The actual archives contain photos and videos, however the site itself remains minimalist with only a photo of Samuel Beckett and Yoko Ono on each page.

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

Podcasts appear in a new black screen, radio streams through your iTunes player.

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

The UbuWeb site (including Ubu Sound) is not optimized for mobile viewing. The site's use of Flash prevents some aspects of playback on Apple mobile devices (which do not support Flash). UbuWeb does offer MP3's for download, which do playback on Apple mobile devices.


Browsing is pretty good on this site, although it still feels like there is a huge wall of information. There are minimal icons, and a sidebar with sections specifically for video, sound, papers, etc., which keep it organized.

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

Low interactivity on this site other than websurfing. Integration of Delicious bookmarking and tagging.

Other notes

*****As of October 12th the site has been closed because of hacking. On October 12th, the site was closed due to hacking. Reopened around October 18th, Kenny wrote an Open Letter in response to a thread discussing copyright issues on Freameworks. Link to UbuWeb's policies are here: