The British Library conjures images of rows and rows of books– and indeed, as a copyright depository, it’s home to acres and acres of them. But its curatorial role extends beyond print to audio. And its creativity in applying new technology to its collections (c.f., here and here, e.g.) is making it’s recordings available in new ways too.
The BL’s Archival Sound Recording Project has already processed over 21,000 recordings– everything from spoken word performances of works in the print collection (often by the authors– c.f., here) to the sounds of amphibians (mostly frogs and toads) around the world (here); and it is experimenting with mash-ups, laying the recordings on maps, e.g., the music of India (here).
But perhaps the most immediately useful (or, at least, amusing) is this map of accents and dialects from all over Great Britain, “illustrated” by over 700 recordings.
As we offer thanks to the librarians among us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1911 that later-to-be Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann visited the Lido in Venice and crystallized the idea for his haunting novella Death In Venice. While Mann was adamant throughout his life that the protagonist, Aschenbach, was in no way autobiographical, his posthumously-available diaries suggest that Mann was in fact infatuated at the shore with a young Polish boy (the 11 year old Wladyslaw Moes ) who became the model for Tadzio.