Sound and vision blog

1 posts from March 2008

26 March 2008

Engaging with the User Community: a Case Study at City University

Digitising recordings and making them available online is only the first step in making a useful resource for education.  Understanding how these recording can be used in the classroom is key to making sure people get the most from the archive.  With this in mind, we went to City University to meet a class of ethnomusicology undergraduates who had been using the resource to learn about Ugandan music.

The class was led by lecturer Carolyn Landau, specialist in ethnomusicology at City University.  Carolyn has been teaching a course about the music of the Ganda people of Uganda, using recordings from the Klaus Wachsmann and African Writers’ Club collections to illustrate her lessons.

For the workshop, Carolyn asked her students to browse the site and search for specific musical instruments.  The feedback overall was very positive.  The students liked that the Wachsmann collection was available in its entirety.  They found the option to search by instrument particularly useful, as was the ability to download recordings for later transcription. 

They also mentioned that it would be a handy revision tool for their aural exam, as they could remind themselves of the sounds of various instruments.  One of the students planned to use the collection for a further in-depth research project

We told the students about some of the web 2.0 functions planned for the site, allowing users to network and share information on specific recordings.  They were particularly keen on the idea of adding searchable tags to recordings, for example, being able to label them as wedding music or funeral music.  They also wanted to be able to view and add comments to recordings, including links to relevant books and scholarly articles.

We will continue to work with City University and with other institutions to create case studies, to generate and share ideas about using audio in teaching, learning and research.  The feedback we received on the service will also be taken into account, helping us to develop the project and the website.  We would like to thank Carolyn Landau and her students at City University for their participation.

We are always looking for more case studies.  If you are a lecturer, teacher or student who uses – or would like to use – sound recordings in your work, and would like to submit a case study, please let us know.  Reply through the blog, or by email to

Rehanna Kheshgi, Digitisation Assistant, Archival Sound Recordings Project