Where librarians and the internet meet: internet searching, Web 2.0 resources, search engines and their development. These are my personal views and not those of CILIP or any other organisation I may be associated with.
The Macaulay Library is the world's largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video. It's mainly birdsong, and can be searched with the usual search box, or by category. It's an excellent collection, based on my very limited understanding of the subject area and if you've an interest in the great outdoors, it's worth a quick delve into.
OK, it's almost 19.00 on a Friday night, and you're desperate to get the sound that a zebra makes. (Don't ask why, you just are, work with me on this!) Where do you go? I'll tell you, you go to FindSounds - Sound Types which is quite a funky little website. Along with the sounds of animals (including that zebra) you get hundreds of sounds. For example - there's not just one zebra sound, there are ten different ones. This is going to be zebra heaven for someone, you mark my words.
If you don't like zebras, try cannons, 19 different saxaphone sounds, if you want to get really gross, there's 24 vomit sounds, 200 different Star Trek sounds, Scooby Doo's laugh, and dozens of others. You can Tweet them, listen to similar sounds and email them. Lots of fun for a friday evening.
This is great fun. Do you need short and snappy sound effects for a podcast for example? Then try Soundclips. They have a wide variety of very short (10 seconds and less) sound files that you can download and they cover a huge range - science fiction photon blasts, dogs barking, offices, nightingale, waterfalls... this site will keep you occupied for hours as you 'just listen to one more'.
Musikki. This is a nice search engine for musicians and bands. Nicely laid out, with comprehensive biographies, concert lists, map, Twitter references, similar/related artists, discography, photographs. Slightly odd not to see any MySpace references though - has that fallen so far? No links to individual songs or lyrics either, and no ITunes links either, which I thought was odd. Also no links to official sites or fanclubs. So it's ok, but not by any stretch of the imagination comprehensive.
If you're trying to locate .mp3 files and having difficulty (and as was pointed out to me the other day, why doesn't Google have that as a file format option?) you might want to try Beemp3 which is a music search engine for locating an mp3-audio files over the Internet. They don't host any files - their crawler searches through the Net and
indexes all the brand new and popular songs for you. Today they have 800 000 mp3 files in their search database and approximately 10 000 files are added daily. Is it legal? Probably not, but I just bring you this stuff.
Mp3Realm is an evolving search engine focused distinctively on audio in Mp3
format. Mp3Realm allows you to search for your favorite songs and
clips, and filter them out by file duration. Your searches can be based
on artist, title, genre or album. Mp3Realm also index's lyrics, so you
can sing along to your favorite songs.
Their index of mp3's is constantly
growing and is updated daily with fresh links, and removal of dead
links. The speed of the download's you find, will vary. This is because
the files you download are not hosted by Mp3Realm servers, they are
gathered from crawling the web. Mp3Realm hosts no mp3 files.
Is it entirely legal? That's up to you - I just find this stuff. ;)
RadioTuna is worth a look if you're trying to track down radio stations to listen to. You can search by genre, artist or station. A search for an artist not only tells you which stations play that person/band, it also tells you where they're being played at that moment.
Listening to a station brings up a profile page with a station breakdown of genre, recent plays and artists. This does appear to only list music stations (Radio Five Live isn't included for example) and I couldn't find any BBC channels at all in fact. However, other than that - if you need to find music radio, this looks like it will be a good bet.
Soungle.com searches a database of royalty free sound effects that you can listen to and download. It's produced by a company called Southern Codes (no, I have no idea either) and also provides access to musical instrument samples as well. The search functionality is very basic - little more than single keywords, but it did return a fairly impressive number of effects - 70 doors, 20 dogs barking, 86 for bird and so on.
This would be a really useful resource if you want to edit a video, or run a training session on bird calls, or put together presentations. Worth an explore, I think.
I few days ago I mentioned Songza, which I was, and am very taken with. However, there is a bunch of other similar engines out there, so I thought I'd take a quick look. I did several searches for different artists, unusual tracks and so on. All very unscientific, but if you want more than that, well - feel free to experiment yourself and post the results! :)
Streampad was pants. Couldn't find anything that I was interested in. Songerize was little better. You need to know track name and artist name to search. If you just put in an artists name it finds what it finds and just plays it without reference back to you. Oh, and the favicon was almost exactly the same as Songza. Streamzy wasn't at all bad. Found half a dozen Wakeman tunes, located 'Mouldy Old Dough' (which Songza couldn't find), but failed when it came to Michael Nyman. Didn't really like the interface a lot though. Deezer had a sophisticated interface, slick and attractive, allowing you to save, share playlists and so on. Unfortunately it didn't have any of the artists or tracks I was interested in. Pandora is still out there of course, but since I'm not in the US I can't use it. Musicovery is an interesting variant in that you define the type of music you want to listen to - vocal pop, blues, soundtrack etc, then the mood - dark, calm, positive and so on, and it produces examples for you to listen to. Dizzler had a nice interface, but a limited number of songs; at least of the stuff that I was interested in!