Mapping Historic Sounds at the British Library

An unanticipated effect of the digital turn in history is a resurgence of historical geography. Maps are a visual organization scheme that everyone understands instantly. And tools like Google Maps make it easy to display metadata in a geographic format.

A beautiful example of this trend is the Archival Sound Recordings page at the British Library has a neat feature--several series of sound recordings mapped on a Google map so you can explore the collections geographically, based on where each recording was made. "Explore selected collections of spoken word, and human and natural environments using our interactive maps," the library promises.

Pictured is a screen shot of the Accents and Dialects sound map, featuring "700 recordings from the Millennium Memory Bank and the Survey of English Dialects." Clicking on a balloon brings a popup with information about the interviews available from that location. Clicking on an interview description takes you to a new window with an audio player and metadata. Also available in this mapped format are wildlife and soundscape recordings from Britain, music from India and Uganda, and a whole mess of noisy frogs.

You can read more about the Archival Sound Recording Project here or on the project blog. This post comes via the JISC Digitisation blog.