New at the Library of Congress
Announcing the American Folklife Center Online Card Catalog Covering
Field Recordings 1930 to 1950
“Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog ”
The Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center (AFC) announces the release of its online card catalog.. This tool will enhance access to the most heavily used recordings in the American Folklife Center*s collections — field recordings made primarily in the 1930s and 40s. It will be available on the Library of Congress web site starting on November 1, 2007. This new resource, entitled Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog, will provide researchers the convenience of accessing AFC *s card catalog without traveling to the Library. It contains fully searchable bibliographic data representing approximately 34,000 ethnographic sound recordings in the AFC Archive. Included among these are the seminal field recordings associated with John A. Lomax*s and Alan Lomax’s Library of Congress collecting work (e.g., Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Jelly Roll Morton), and countless other treasures recorded by collectors such as Herbert Halpert, Zora Neale Hurston, Henrietta Yurchenco, Vance andolph, and Helen Creighton. The new catalog will be part of the site The Library of Congress Presents Music, Theatre & Dance. The web address is:
AFC*s card catalog was originally created by Work Progress Administration (WPA) workers in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and continued later by Archive of Folk Song (now AFC) staff. although these cards represent only 5 to 10 % of the AFC*s total holdings, the card catalog*s great advantage is that it provides access at the level of the individual track on the recording, and sometimes, added notes about that item. It provides the public with access to the thousands of individual songs, tunes, folk tales, sermons, monologues, and life stories in the Archive’s collections. The majority of the audio recordings listed in the catalog are instantaneous disc recordings, made on lacquer and aluminum discs, with the addition of a few early tape
In addition to providing images of each card in the original catalog, and a searchable database of the text on the cards, the web resource eventually will include sound files for some of the items listed in the catalog. AFC has also digitized its collection of approximately 1,500 transcribed song lyrics, and the images of these transcriptions will be associated with their corresponding card catalog records. In this way, AFC staff can continue to expand the usefulness of the catalog as more collection materials become available online.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The Center includes the Archive of the AFC, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.
Questions about this resource may be sent to the American Folklife Center’s reference email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Queries sent to this address will be forwarded to the appropriate folklife specialist.
Stephanie A. Hall
Librarian: Automated Reference Specialist
American Folklife Center http://www.loc.gov/folklife
Library of Congress email@example.com