British Library Maps Crowdsourced Sounds

Matthew Casperson
Sep. 09 2010, 09:00AM EDT

When you think of libraries, you probably think about great walls of books. But books are not the only media in which information can be recorded, and the British Library is offering people a way to record, preserve and share the sounds of their local neighborhood with its new mashup.

The SoundMap uses Google Maps to plot sound recordings over England and Ireland. When you click on one of the push pins the sound recording will be played in your browser. For those looking to contribute, there is a blog post with ideas on what kinds of sounds to record.

The site explains its purpose:

Britain’s sonic environment is ever changing. Urbanisation, transport developments, climate change and even everyday lifestyles all affect our built and natural soundscapes. The sounds around us have an impact on our well being. Some sounds have a positive or calming influence. Others can be intrusive and disturbing or even affect our health. By capturing sounds of today and contributing to the British Library’s digital collections you can help build a permanent researchable resource.

SoundMap is a logical extension to the myriad of photo and video sharing websites that have become so popular, and will eventually be used to provide research data for the experts from the Noise Futures Network to determine the effects these sounds have on our lives.

Matthew Casperson Matthew is a freelance writer, focusing on web and multimedia technologies. His work can be found featured on Programmable Web, Brighthub, Hubfolio, Chrome Experiments, Informit, Flash Tuts Plus and The Tech Labs.

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