University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives
Since 1963 the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives has collected ethnographic data in the form of field recordings, live concert recordings, films and videos of a variety of musical events, and musical instruments. The collection of nearly 10,000 tapes and discs is available for listening; depending on deposit agreements, copies of some materials may be obtained by researchers.
Students are particularly encouraged to utilize archival materials to assist with class projects and help prepare for their own field work. The Archives employs several students each year and works informally with most ethnomusicology students as they begin to consider recording format options, equipment purchase, the practical problems of documentation in the field, and other issues related to their research. Students and other researchers are invited to deposit their field collections in the Archives, which offers secure storage and computer catalog access to all materials.
For more information, contact Laurel Sercombe, Archivist, (206) 543-0974; e-mail email@example.com.
• To support the instructional and research mission of the University of Washington and the Ethnomusicology Program.
• To apply professional sound archiving standards to the performance of the archival tasks of collection,
documentation, access, and preservation.
• To provide archival services to a worldwide clientele of students and researchers.
• To safeguard the musical heritage embodied in the Archives’ recorded collections.
• To encourage responsible ethnomusicological field research and appropriate documentation, storage, and
preservation of resulting research materials.
• To balance the need for open, unrestricted access to research
materials with the need to restrict access due to privacy concerns or
• The University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives
collects ethnographic documentation of all kinds, with particular
emphasis on sound recordings in all formats, film, and video. The
Archives accepts collections on a deposit or gift basis and does not
• As part of the Ethnomusicology Division of the School of Music,
the Archives primarily serves the students and faculty of the Division.
Students are expected to deposit their field recordings and other
documentation to the Archives upon completion of the Ph.D, along with a
copy of their dissertation. Faculty members in the Division and other
UW researchers are the other major source of recorded collections.
Materials of ethnomusicological interest from other sources are also
• A “Contract for Deposit of Materials” is negotiated
between the archivist and the depositor in each case to reflect the
specific requirements of the collection. Depositors are encouraged to
impose as few restrictions as possible or to restrict access only for a
• Collections are generally not solicited by the Archives, but the
deposit of material of local or regional importance is encouraged and
welcomed. Because of its location in the Pacific Northwest, the
Archives has become identified as an appropriate repository for both
historical and contemporary recordings of music of Northwest Coast
people. In housing and preserving such collections, particular
attention is paid to issues of song ownership, appropriate use, and
access by members of Native communities. It is Archives policy to make
copies of these recordings at cost for requesting tribal groups.
• The Ethnomusicology Archives is a closed-stack facility.
Most recordings are available for listening or viewing on-site under
the supervision of Archives staff. Students and teachers, as well as
researchers, are welcome to visit. Because of extreme space limitations
in the Archives, most listening or viewing needs to be scheduled in
• Visitors with a general interest in music of a particular area
or genre are encouraged to consult the Music Library Listening Center
collection (Music Room 19). Many commercial recordings of
ethnomusicological interest are located in the Listening Center, with
access available through the library’s on-line catalog.
• The Ethnomusicology Archives contains non-commercial,
unpublished recordings and accompanying documentation which generally
require some previous knowledge to use effectively. Archives staff are
available to assist visitors find the information they need.
Media Duplication Policy
• Recordings in the Ethnomusicology Archives may in some cases
be available for duplication. Requestors should fill out the
“Media Duplication” request form available from the
Archives (email firstname.lastname@example.org). All requests are to be
authorized by the Archivist and additional permission obtained as
• There is no easy answer to the question, "May I get a copy of
____?" Most collections in the Archives were deposited by field
researchers; their deposit agreements on file in the Archives are the
basis for decisions regarding media duplication. Similarly, for concert
recordings, the formal agreement between the artist(s) and the Archives
must be consulted.
• University of Washington students who study with visiting
artists in the Ethnomusicology Program often perform in concerts with
those artists during their stay. Single copies of those performance
recordings are generally available to the students who performed in
them, unless the visiting artist prohibits such copying; students are
asked to provide their own blank discs or tapes in these cases.
• For most media duplication requests, a fee for blank discs or
tapes plus labor costs is charged; consult the Archivist for current
• Requests to license Archives recordings for publication or broadcast should also be submitted to the Archivist.
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