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Recorded Sound Section--Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division


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To reach the Recorded Sound Reference Center, you must pass through the Music Division's Performing Arts Reading Room. This is not an accidental arrangement as the two reading rooms have a complementary relationship and work closely together. The Recorded Sound Reference Center provides access to the recorded music and songs of composers, lyricists, songwriters, and performers that patrons may also research in the Performing Arts Reading Room. Resources in the reading room include books on music, scores, music reference tools, finding aids to the Music Division's archival collections, and other music-, dance-, and theater-related materials that provide crucial supplemental information to those researching sound recordings. For example, recordings that accompanied the Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon collection were deposited in MBRS, whereas much of the rest of the materials in the collection, including papers, photographs, and other ephemera, reside in the Music Division (see Music Division section, Special Collections in Dance). Other divisions throughout the Library may also have material that pertains to your research project. Researchers should check with reference librarians for information about where to find additional pertinent material.

The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division has made great progress during the 1990s in improving access to its vast collection of sound recordings. Before 1990 relatively few commercial recordings and practically no archival recordings were fully cataloged. New automated systems and additional staff have enabled the division to begin systematically cataloging more of its collections. Recordings cited are held in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Shelf location numbers, whenever they exist, are given for all recordings cited. Dates following radio program titles indicate the years of broadcasts that the Library holds, not the years during which the programs were broadcast.

It is best to begin researching your topic in the computer databases and card files, but because a significant portion of the Library's sound recordings is not yet fully cataloged, the failure to find a listing there does not necessarily mean that a recording is not held by the Library. The reference staff will assist you in suggesting alternate search strategies and approaches for locating material and for searching different resources, including many that are not described here.

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