7. Cataloguing

The data sheets, referred to in section 6, filed in systematic order will effectively provide a catalogue of the tape recordings in the archive. For computer storage the data must be susceptible to direct translation for computer input. In practice it is easy to discover from the file of data sheets what tape recordings are held for any species or group of animals and these can be readily located from the reel references on the sheets. However, it is useful for the potential user also to have a printed catalogue. A simple one giving basic details is comparatively easily prepared by a small archive, as has been done, for instance, by the New Zealand Wildlife Service library and the two main Russian Phonoteks (see section I above). The entries in such a catalogue might show: species name, type of sound, place, date, recordist, quality, duration, reference and reel numbers. A typical entry in such a catalogue might be:

ROBIN Erithacus rubecula

  1. Song. Yorkshire. 20 October 1980. C. Smith.
    B. 3'40". 3054. S2/4.
  2. Calls of pair alarming near nest. Surrey.
    5 May 1960. B. Jones. A. 2'05". 2531. Cl/5

The entries would be listed in systematic order, separately for each class of animal. The need for constant up-dating is an obvious problem.

For commercial records and cassettes, the cards completed should include a list of the species to be found on each published item. In addition a species card index file should be compiled showing, for each species, what records or cassettes its sounds occur on. If these cards also show that there is a related field recording in the archive and that it occurs in a separate special collection (e.g. a broadcasting collection), then all information about recordings of the species concerned is usefully available in the one place.

Without computerisation it is difficult for an archive of any size to locate recordings with special features, such as sub-song or mimicry, or those which come from particular habitats or areas. For further information on computerisation and on cataloguing generally the reader is referred to the separate chapter on this subject.