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Starting points for research in drama

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ABOUT Sound Design

This is a selection of physical and digital books available through UCI Libraries. Use the following subject searches in the library catalog to find other similar materials:



British Library Sounds provides access to almost 100,000 digitized sound recordings from the vast British Library Sound Collection. Sub-collections include:

  • Environment & Nature - with categories of many different animal recordings, soundscapes, sound effects, water, weather, and other natural sounds.
  • Accents & Dialects - with categories of different English dialects, early spoken word recordings, children's games and songs, and evolving words
  • Sound Recording History- with categories of early records, oral histories of recorded sound, etc.
  • Sound Maps - drawing from other sub-collections, this is a unique interface to discover sounds and music specific to a geography rather than a specific type of sound
  • Also included are several different collections of music, including classical and traditional music

99 Sounds - an indie sound design label that provides free sound effects and sample libraries of commercial quality. A random assortment of collections includes Halloween, rain & thunder, underground sounds, etc.

Free Sound - digital library of over half a million sounds. Some are collected sounds while others have been digitally created.

Ambisonic Sound Library - 360 degree surround-sound audio recordings. Includes categories like Nature, Mechanical, Water, Sport, etc.



Insect Singers - song recordings and information on acoustically signaling insects, especially cicadas.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology - lots and lots of audio recordings of birds (seriously, there are over 1,000,000!)

Sounds of Earth - small collection of the audio recordings (of sounds from Earth) placed onboard the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft


Museum of Endangered Sounds - small collection of sounds from old (and quickly disappearing or now gone) technology, such as sounds of fingers on a QWERTY keypads, a VHS player doing its thing, and the sounds of a cathode ray tube TV

SoundCities - database of thousands of sounds from around the world that allows you to "visit" cities and create soundmaps

Radio Show and Programs Archive - a collection in the Internet Archive of several million digitized radio broadcasts, both historical and contemporary


Naxos Music Library * allows you to listen to almost 170,000 streaming albums. Many different record labels, including the prestigious Sony Classical, reside here. While mainly focused on Western art music, a decent selection of world music can be found here as well.

Classical Music Library * is similar to Naxos Music Library but a bit smaller (it still has over 60,000 albums, so not too shabby). It is generally easier to browse than Naxos.

Jazz Music Library * has almost 1,000,000 tracks (that's over 65,000 albums if you're counting) of jazz, swing, bop, dixieland, etc.

Smithsonian Global Sound * is known for providing recordings from the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings labels. Music found in this database represents traditional cultures across the world from Armenia to Zimbabwe.

American Song * allows people to listen to music from America's past. Includes songs by and about American Indians, immigrants, slaves, pioneers, and cowboys. Includes songs from the Civil Rights movements, political campaigns, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War.