News from the British Library

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



(2004), "News from the British Library", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 38 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

News from the British Library

News from the British Library

British Library launches a Web site with sound recordings of Northern English accents and dialects

Northern England’s rich assortment of accents and dialects are featured on a new Web site from the British Library. Visitors to the site can listen to the incredible variety of spoken English in the north, and hear sounds and words which define the people from the area (

The site brings together two large sound archives of Northern English speakers made 50 years apart and puts them on the Web for the first time. There are over 11 hours of recordings and users can hear how Northerners spoke in the 1950s, and how they speak now with the words in each recording being explained. They reflect not only ways of speaking but also ways of life that have changed forever, making the site a treasure trove of local and social history.

These recordings are just the first set of accents and dialects going on to the Web site. The Web site will interest specialists and non-specialists alike and should prove invaluable to the large number of actors who currently use the British Library Sound Archive for research purposes. The accents and dialects Web site sits within the British Library’s Collect Britain Web site ( funded with money from the New Opportunities Fund. When the site is complete in September 2004 it will contain over 100,000 images and 350 hours of sound recordings.

For further information please contact Colin Beesley, British Library Press Office, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 7BQ, UK. Tel: +44(0) 1937 546 825; Fax: +44(0) 1937 546 571; E-mail:; URL:

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