British Library's pledge to save the nation’s sounds secures £9.5 million boost from Heritage Lottery Fund
The British Library has received *earmarked funding for a £9,568,900 bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (including a £215,900 development fund) to help to save the nation’s sounds, and open them up online for everyone to hear.
The funding will enable the British Library to digitise and make available 500,000 rare, unique and at-risk sound recordings from its own archive and other key collections around the country over 5 years (2017-2022).
This support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) answers an urgent call to save our sounds from being lost forever. Sound archivists estimate that we have 15 years in which to digitise historic sound recordings before the equipment required to play some formats can no longer be used, and some formats such as wax cylinders and acetate discs start to naturally decay.
The £9.5 million will enable the British Library to:
- digitise and publish online up to 500,000 rare and unique sounds from the Library’s own collections and those around the UK which are most at risk, including local dialects and accents, oral histories and previously unheard musical performances and plays, and vanishing wildlife sounds
- work with partner institutions to develop a national preservation network via ten regional centres of archival excellence which will digitise, preserve and share the unique audio heritage found in their local area
- run a major outreach programme to schools and communities to celebrate the UK’s sound heritage, and raise awareness of this treasure trove of living history held in archives across the country