Archives and Collections


Directory of UK Sound Collections (2015)

In 2015 the British Library conducted a National Audit of UK Sound Collections as part of the Library’s Save our Sounds programme.  The purpose of the project was to gather information from sound collection holders across the UK about the condition, formats, extent, uniqueness and subject matter of their collections.  This valuable information allowed the BL team to assess the state of the nation’s recorded heritage and the risks it faces as well as inform the strategy for addressing these problems.

Over a period of 20 weeks (from January to May 2015), this survey collected information on 3,015 collections, from 488 collection holders, containing 1.9 million items.  The resulting Directory of UK Sound Collections is available to download from the British Library website.  The Directory contains details of all collections whose holders agreed to share information on their holdings.  A Report on the National Audit of UK Sound Collections describing the approach and methodology used, and analysing the results of the information gathered, is also available to download.  Visit

MLA Reports

During 2005-2008 various MLAs (Museums, Libraries and Archives Councils) in England commissioned reports about audio-visual collections and archives in their regions. These provide useful information about oral history archives and collecting activity. The regional MLAs were disbanded in 2009. These reports are posted here with permission in PDF format.

The status and future of oral history collections in the north east
1. Report
October 2005

South East Audiovisual Mapping & Strategy Project
1. Executive summary
2. Main report
3. Appendices
4. Directory of Audiovisual Collections in South East England
5. Commercial Development Toolkit for Audiovisual Collections
May 2003

MLA West Midlands Directory of Audiovisual Collections
1. Report


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