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Locating Sound Recordings

The Recorded Sound Section of the Library of Congress maintains a collection of nearly 2,500,000 recordings, with receipts averaging from 75,000 to 100,000 items in recent years. Historically, a large portion of the collection remained uncataloged, but could be accessed through inventories and the careful ordering of commercial recordings by label name and issue number on the shelves. A major effort to reduce the arrearage starting in the 1990s has led to a great increase in the number of processed sound recordings in the Library's catalog and a database, now available on the Web, known as SONIC (Sound ONline Inventory and Catalog). What follows is an estimate of the percentage of certain categories of material to be found in SONIC, the percentage available in the Library's main catalog (the Integrated Library System or ILS), and the pecentage available by contacting the Section's reference staff. Please note that field recordings made by the Library are excluded from this matrix and researchers interested in this material should contact the Folklife Reading Room.



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MUSICAL RECORDINGS

Type of Recording % in ILS % in SONIC

% Available by contacting
Reference Staff
Pre-1948 commercial recordings 1 50 49
Unreleased broadcast recordings 1 80 19
Commercially released broadcast recordings 33 33 33
Performers private collections 40 50 10
Audio cassette and CD-R copyright deposits 5 95
45 rpm discs 1 99
LPs 50 50
Newport Jazz Festival (unpublished) 100
Newport Jazz Festival (commercial) 100
Library of Congress Music Division Concerts 100

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SPOKEN WORD RECORDINGS

Type of Recording % in ILS % in SONIC % Available by contacting
Reference Staff
Radio programs 5 70 25
Notable individuals 33 43 23
Significant historical events 33 33 33
NBC Radio 90 10
WOR AM Radio (Mutual) 100
BBC 100
National Public Radio 100
Armed Forces Radio and Television Service 2 15 83
Literary readings 70 20 10
WWII Marine Corps combat recordings 100

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