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Wildlife sounds services: copying and spectrograms

The Wildlife Copying Service provides copies of wildlife sound recordings held in the British Library's collections. The copies can be supplied on a range of up-to-date audio formats.

Wildlife Copying Service

The copying charge is £50 per hour (£20 minimum charge). Hourly charges are calculated according to the length of time spent in making the copy. The charges are exclusive of VAT and any copyright payments required. Post and packing is included (except for express and airmail delivery).

For most wildlife recordings the British Library are entrusted by copyright owners to make copies and staff will advise you on any copyright issues that may exist. In placing an order for a copy to be made, you will need to state your proposed use of the material. Please note that use of copies from our collections for commercial publication or public dissemination of any kind is subject to the British Library's written permission and may involve further charges.

Application for a copy of a wildlife sound recording

An application form must be submitted listing the sound recordings you require. The application for a copy of a wildlife sound recording form (PDF format) should be downloaded and returned to us by mail or fax. A copy of the form can also be supplied to customers by post if necessary.

It is possible to search for recordings held in the Library's collection by using our online catalogue. After selecting the recording(s) you would like to have copied, please note the call number and the wildlife reference number (see example below). The Sound and Moving Image catalogue call numbers are listed at the top of each entry in brief display (see image below) and under HOLDINGS or LIST RECORDINGS in full display. This will help us to deal with your request more quickly.

Wildlife reference number

A wildlife recording, as displayed in the Sound and Moving Image catalogue, with reference number, species and call number fields highlighted.

If you are unable to find the recording you want, please contact the Wildlife Section, using the contact details below. Orders up to ten recordings will be researched without charge. For orders over ten recordings there will be a research charge of £87 per half hour of staff time.

Research fees are payable regardless of whether a copying service order is subsequently placed or not. We can provide estimates of the likely cost of making a copy before submission of a completed form and in any event will advise of the cost before the copying work is started. Please send your completed application for a copy of a wildlife sound recording form (PDF format) to the address at the bottom of this page.


Spectrograms of wildlife sounds can be made to order. Many animals produce sounds with amplitude and frequency changes that are too fast for the human ear to resolve, or are at frequencies above or below our hearing range. Sound spectrograms allow scientists to portray the intricacies of complex sounds in a way that can be readily understood. It is often easier to compare these graphical representations of sound sequences than it is to compare the actual sounds aurally.

The British Library can supply spectrograms of wildlife sounds at the same charges as for the copying service.


A charged service is available if you would like the specialist staff of the wildlife sounds section to carry out research on your behalf. For further information please contact the Wildlife Section at the address below.

Further information

Cheryl Tipp
Curator, Wildlife Sounds
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7403
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7441


PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.