Using the sound archive
Our sound archive includes local broadcast material, oral history recordings and local music.
How do I find the recording I’m looking for?
Use our online catalogue NROCAT's sound archive search.
Once you've found the catalogue entry for a recording, the access conditions field will show if a copy of the recording is available and what format it's in.
Contact us if there's no copy available.
How do I get to listen to the recording?
You can order copies on cassette and CD and then play them in our listening room, which is part of the searchroom at The Archive Centre.
You can also play electronic audio files in the listening room and in some cases online.
This depends on agreements made between us and the rights holders in the original recordings. Check the access conditions field on NROCAT for details.
Contact us if:
- You're unable to visit and want to listen to a recording that is only available in our listening room
- A file says it is accessible via the internet but doesn't play
Can I use the recordings for research or commercial purposes?
We've copied the original recordings in our care to safeguard them and made them available for non-commercial research, study and private enjoyment.
If you'd like to use the recordings for any other purpose, contact us for advice.
Sound recordings, particularly oral history interviews, may contain personal and sensitive information.
In addition, all contributors in a sound recording have various rights which we acknowledge and protect.
A failure to use the recordings in our care with respect constitutes a breach of the trust we have built up with various rights holders.
I may have a sound recording of interest to you. What should I do?
Contact us if you have or know of sound recordings which you think have historical importance to Norfolk.
We're interested in one-off recordings as well as collections, such as community archive oral history projects.
Institutions such as the British Library Sound Archive already look after and make available Norfolk-related sounds.
We aim to create a directory of such material, as well as collecting original sound recordings or copies of them.
This will allow people to listen to them in one place and will ensure their preservation for future generations.
I want to carry out an oral history project. Can you help?
We can provide support and advice to new and existing projects in many ways, including:
- Advice on setting up an oral history project
- Advice on copyright and confidentiality
- Information about other oral history projects in Norfolk
- Basic training on gathering oral history and advice where to get more extensive training
- Advice on editing digital audio
Oral history recording can provide important and accessible historical sources for the future, as well as preserving dialects, accents and the use of old words.
Contact us if you'd like to work with us.
- The British Library Sound Archive contains recordings from across the globe, ranging from oral history to pop music
- The British Institute of Organ Studies has a Historic Organ Sound Archive, which features many recordings made in Norfolk
- The WISE Archive documents the working lives of older people, mainly in Norfolk