Your Voices

Send Us Your Contributions — Guidelines

What contributions should we send?

There are a number of activities within the Your Voices section that give you the opportunity to submit a recording or contribution of your own. We will then select recordings to be uploaded on to the site. To ensure the recordings are comparable across the UK, we would request that you always include a recording of yourself or your classmates reading the passage adapted from Mr. Tickle by Roger Hargreaves (© 1971) on the Your Accents page. In addition, you might like to make a recording of more natural speech. There are a number of suggestions for prompting a free-flowing conversation in the Your English area on the Your Voices page. Finally, you might like to read the Your Words page and send us your local playground vocabulary. You can send your responses to Your Words electronically or by post to the address below. If you are sending an audio recording for Your Accents or Your Voices, please read the following guidelines.

What recording equipment should we use?

The type of recorder you use will depend on the availability of equipment in your school. Most Modern Languages or Performing Arts departments will have appropriate equipment. If at all possible we would like you to make a digital recording as this will be of superior quality and will enable us to upload your contributions to the site more quickly. Most digital recorders allow you to select different levels of audio quality. The British Library Sound Archive advises recording at the internationally recognised Philips ‘red book’ standard if possible (16bit/44.1kHz). If you are able to make a digital recording, then please transfer your recordings, unedited, to a gold CD-R or DVD-R as explained below. If you are using an older format, such as audio cassette, please make sure you use a high quality tape and do not record over an existing recording.

How do we set up a recording?

Try to use a room that is located away from noisy areas of the school — not near a busy road, school playing fields or canteen. Ask the advice of the Modern Languages department as some rooms in a school are often reserved for recording oral examinations. Whatever method of recording you decide to use it is best to use an external microphone. If you are using a clip-on lapel microphone, put it about nine inches from the speaker's mouth. With a hand-held microphone place it as near as possible to the speaker, but not on the same surface as the recorder. Having made the recording it is good practice to make a safety copy. With flashcard recorders you can easily transfer the audio file to your computer and make a back-up copy onto gold CD-R or DVD-R.

How do we submit a recording?

We will need as much information as possible about your recordings if they are to be selected for uploading onto the site. We will only consider submissions that are accompanied by a signed consent form and a completed details of recordings sheet. If you have been able to make digital recordings, please save the recordings as .wav files (rather than compressed files, such as mp3) and give each file a name that helps to identify it. We recommend you adopt the following naming convention:

town-school-speaker(or group)-content of recording

The following examples should act as a rough guide:

  • lewes-prioryschool-myleenesmith-youraccents.wav
  • york-archbishopholgate-lowersixthgroup-yourvoices.wav

Please send us these files along with a completed consent form and details of recordings sheet for each speaker.

How will your contributions be uploaded?

You should send your digital recordings by post to the address below on a CD-R or DVD-R. Please also include copies of consent forms and details of recordings sheets - either on the CD-R/DVD-R or as hard copies. If you are sending an audio cassette, please enclose paper copies of consent forms and details of recording sheets. If your contribution does not exceed 5MB memory, then you can send everything electronically to the e-mail address below. We will endeavour to upload suitable recordings as quickly as possible. Remember we can only include recordings accompanied by a consent form and details of recording sheets.

The British Library
96 Euston Road