Using the Archive


Sound recordings are paged and handled only by the Archive staff to ensure both their proper care and their correct playback for researchers. For this reason, listening appointments are necessary.

The Archive audio room is equipped to handle playback of the many formats in the collections and can accommodate several listeners, including small classes or seminars.

The staff can also prepare copies of Archive audio materials for Stanford students, faculty, or staff to borrow for extended study or classroom presentation; at least 1-day lead time is required. Please inquire about policies governing copy requests for other than Stanford academic use.

Consultation on research projects is available and encouraged. Please contact the Archive to arrange an appointment.

Group visits may also be arranged by contacting the Archive.

Using discographies

Discographies, or systematic lists of recordings, are a primary means of discovery for commercial sound recordings. Most discographies in the collection are housed together in the Archive. They are essential for identifying recordings that may be in the Archive's collections, which are organized by label name and issue number. Using this information, Archive staff can determine if a particular recording is present in the Archive. Cataloging projects in the Archive are underway; however, a large number of sound recordings are not yet represented in the catalog. Nonetheless, searching in SearchWorks is a good place to begin your research.

Discographies can be divided into three main types: performer (lists of all recordings by a particular person or group); intellectual (such as recordings of a certain composer's works, or lists by subject matter, i.e., folk songs, World War II songs); and record label (recordings issued by a specific record label, often listed chronologically or by issue number).

Discographies in the Archive reference collection may be searched in SearchWorks, or browsed on the shelf, in the call number range ML156. Biographies of performers and composers also often include discographical information

SearchWorks subject search term:


Include a topical term or a composer/performer name to narrow your search:


View a Bibliography of discographies here.


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