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Recorded Sound Research Center (National Audio-Visual Conservation Center)
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Guidelines for Listening to Sound Recordings

Hours and Location

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Recorded Sound Research Center
LM113 Madison Building

Who Can Listen

Recorded Sound Collections are available to the public for listening in the Recorded Sound Research Center. Listening facilities are provided without charge. A growing number of recordings are available for listening on a walk-in basis.

Listening Appointments

Appointments are required for listening to most of the material in our collection. Recordings do not circulate.
Listeners can telephone the Research Center at (202) 707-7833, fax your request to (202) 707-8464, or submit an email request through [email protected].

A growing number of our recordings have been digitized and are available for listening on demand. All others will take at least two weeks for our engineers to digitize for your listening appointment. Special arrangements are required for requests of more than five items at one time. Certain audio formats will require more time to digitize and will necessitate a longer wait. Please contact the Research Center as soon as possible with large requests or to identify previously digitized recordings.

Patrons are able to use the Research Center without appointment to access the catalogs, reference books, archival collections, microfiche, microfilm and other reference sources.

Submitting Listening Requests

Be sure to include the name and title of the items requested, the call numbers (e.g. RWD 3214; LWO 5599 gr12 r2a1-3b, NCPB 5434, Decca 12-1401), and your personal contact information so we can confirm your appointment.

Offsite researchers should begin their search by using the Library of Congress Online Catalog or Sound Online Inventory and Catalog (SONIC). If you can't find a recording in the catalogs, please contact our reference staff by emailing [email protected] or calling (202) 707-7833. Many of our reference sources are not publicly available. Our engineers can typically prepare 8 items for a listening session. Please contact the Research Center if you have a longer list of items.

Record notes and jackets may also be requested.

Additional Resources

The Research Center also holds subject files, catalogs, in-house databases and extensive print materials available to researchers in the reading room for immediate access.


Recording equipment of any type is not allowed in the Research Center.  Photographing images from the screen for reference purposes will be permitted only when authorized in advance by our reference staff.

Reader Identification Card

All users of the Library's research areas, including the Recorded Sound Research Center, are required to have a Reader Identification Card issued by the Library. 
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  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  March 11, 2022
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