FACTmag

The world’s largest natural sound archive is now available to hear online

Use your ← → arrow keys to navigate

Samplers and twitchers alike: it’s your time. 

The Macaulay Library at Ithaca’s Cornell Lab of Ornithology has digitized its entire archive of analog recordings, dating back to 1929. Even better: they’re all available to stream at the library’s website - and searchable by species.

According to the Cornell University Tumblr [via FACT's Laurent Fintoni]:

“It took archivists a dozen years to complete the monumental task. The collection contains nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings equaling more than 10 terabytes of data with a total run time of 7,513 hours. About 9,000 species are represented. There’s an emphasis on birds, but the collection also includes sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates and more.

“Our audio collection is the largest and the oldest in the world,” explained Macaulay Library director Mike Webster. “Now, it’s also the most accessible. We’re working to improve search functions and create tools people can use to collect recordings and upload them directly to the archive. Our goal is to make the Macaulay Library as useful as possible for the broadest audience possible.”

The recordings are used by researchers studying many questions, as well as by birders trying to fine-tune their sound ID skills. The recordings are also used in museum exhibits, movies and commercial products such as smartphone apps.

“Now that we’ve digitized the previously archived analog recordings, the archival team is focusing on new material from amateur and professional recordists from around the world to really, truly build the collection,” Budney said. “Plus, it’s just plain fun to listen to these sounds. Have you heard the sound of a walrus underwater?  It’s an amazing sound.”

Yes, it is.

comments


FACT is the UK's best online music magazine and home to the weekly FACT mix series.
All content © 2012-2014 by The Vinyl Factory. All rights reserved.
Advertisement