Online training

We have prepared a series of 4 hour-long webinars with the help of the British Library which we will be running periodically on Zoom until May 2022. This training is free and open to anyone working in a gallery, museum, archive or library in the North West region.

You can sign up for all four or just the ones you are interested in. Our aim is to increase confidence in the sector to deal with the sound media in our collections. The next series is scheduled for Tuesdays at 2-3pm on 1st, 8th, 15th and 22st of February. We will post an Eventbrite link here soon.

1. Planning and collection preparation

In this session you will learn how to audit your collection and the basics of evaluating options to work towards an audio preservation strategy for your service. We will discuss the decision to outsource digitisation or do it yourself, and introduce format identification. A good place to start when considering auditing your sound collections is to read the description of the British Library’s methodology for producing the UK Sound Directory. You can read the British Library guide Getting Your Sound Collections Digitised – the First Steps.

2. Digitisation and care of formats

In this session you will learn more about assessing, storing and handling different formats:

And about the principles of digitisation focusing on tape reel and cassette formats:

We have produced an introduction to the basics of audio and a comprehensive guide to audio carrier identification and preservation. We have also produced detailed process documents for the digitisation and transfer of:

You can also read British Library guides on:

Check out our zines on cassette digitisation and CD ripping.

3. Cataloguing

In this session we will cover how the UOSH hubs catalogued sound recordings from audio and existing documentation and how you can adapt this for your repository or project. You will get tips about how to incorporate catalogue descriptions of sound recordings into your own collections management system.

We are currently looking at mapping from Excel to other systems. Here is an example for CALM, showing one recording in a spreadsheet and in the CALM tree structure, along with a table showing the fields and MARC21 codes.

You can read a British Library guide to cataloguing sound recordings.

Check out our cataloguing zine.

4. Rights and online use

In this session you will be given an overview of how copyright and data protection legislation affects sound recordings and some demonstrations showing you how to provide access to your sound archives onsite and online. You can read British Library guides on copyright and data protection for sound archives.

Handouts and support

You will receive British Library handouts and our slides after each session including learning points and links for further reading. We are happy to help with follow-up enquiries after the course as you start to work with your sound archives. If you don’t want to attend the training but need some advice please get in touch.


So far we have produced three zine guides on how to digitise audio cassettes, how to rip audio CDs and how to catalogue sound archives.

Quiz time!

Test your audio format knowledge and digitisation quality control skills with these quick, fun quizzes.

Blogs showing UOSH processes

The Manchester Studies oral history collection

The Manchester Studies oral history collection

Unlocking the everyday experiences of ordinary people ...
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This is a behind the scenes account of how I made the film. For the context of the film and ...
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From disc to digital: MiniDisc transfer

From disc to digital: MiniDisc transfer

Tens of thousands of reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes crowd the tall shelves of the Greater Manchester sound archive, held in ...
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Conducting Oral History Interviews with family

Conducting Oral History Interviews with family

At this current time when people are strongly encouraged to stay home and to practice social distancing there is a ...
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Further resources

Free Open University course including interactive modules on early revolutions in sound recording:

Digital preservation resources from The National Archives and the Digital Preservation Coalition:

From the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA):