February 16, 2001 New Online Catalog Describes Sound Recordings

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-7833

A new online catalog available from the Library of Congress allows access to the records describing the largest publicly available audio collection in the world. The new database, called SONIC (Sound ONline Inventory and Catalog), includes some 350,000 entries representing more than 25 percent of the Library's sound recording holdings. SONIC is available through the Library's Web site at www.loc.gov/rr/record.

The new database contains information on nearly all the 45 rpm discs, 78 rpm discs acquired since 1982, commercial audio cassettes, unpublished copyright deposits on cassette and CD and many special collections in various formats. Recordings of both music and spoken word are represented and include such diverse materials as the Newport Jazz Festivals, the NBC Radio Archive, and the personal recordings of Leonard Bernstein and Gerry Mulligan.

SONIC makes information about the following collections available to the public for the first time:

  • 100,000 45 rpm discs (pop, rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, etc.)
  • 82,000 78 rpm discs (those not represented in the Rigler-Deutsch Index)
  • 50,000 commercial and non commercial cassettes and recordable compact discs deposited for copyright
  • 68,000 National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Radio records (1930s-1960s)
  • 8,000 World War II Office of War Information records (1942-1945)
  • 8,000 Armed Forces Radio Transcription Service records (1942-1959)
  • 1,500 WWII Marine Corps Combat Recordings
  • 2,000 "Meet the Press" broadcasts (1945-1984)
  • 2,000 National Press Club luncheon events (1952-1989)
  • 1,000 U.S. House of Representatives floor proceedings (1979-1985)
  • 632 unpublished audio records from the Leonard Bernstein Collection (1930s-1990s)
  • 500 Newport Jazz Festival recordings as recorded by the Voice of America (1955-1963)
  • 151 various recordings of Gerry Mulligan (1948-1985)

The catalog is the product of more than a decade of special efforts to inventory fully the audio collections of the Library of Congress. SONIC, which employs Cuadra STAR software and is fully searchable, describes recordings in considerably more detail than a normal inventory, but is not full cataloging. Eventually, bibliographic access to the audio collections of the Library of Congress will be provided in one catalog, the Integrated Library System (ILS), catalog.loc.gov.

The database contains no digitized sound. The recordings are available for listening only in the Recorded Sound Reference Center, Room LM 113, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Listening facilities, which are available without charge, are provided for individuals doing research of a specific nature, leading toward a publicly available work such as a publication, thesis or dissertation, radio/film/television production, or public performance. The hours for the facility are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and by appointment only on Saturday. (Closed Sundays).


PR 01-026
ISSN 0731-3527