Click here to skip to content

Drama and literature recordings: research resources

A large number of books, reference works, periodicals, discographies and record company catalogues relating to drama and literature are available on open access in the Humanities - Floor 2  reading room in the main British Library building at St. Pancras.

Books and reference works

Notable examples include:

  • Briggs, Asa. The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom (in five volumes), OUP, 1995.
  • Books Out Loud, Bowker, USA, 2008.
  • BBC Sound Archive catalogues and microfiche covering 1880-1992 (the Enquiry Desk can provide detail on more recent broadcasts)
  • Early spoken word record catalogues on open access; selection of catalogues of spoken word producers such as Caedmon or Spoken Arts available on request.
  • Gramophone Spoken Word catalogues 1964-1994 (incomplete)
  • Portantiere, Michael (ed.). The TheaterMania guide to musical theater recordings,Back Stage Books, 2004 - includes reviews of more than 1,000 cast albums and soundtracks
  • Smith, Ronald. Comedy stars at 78 rpm: biographies and discographies of 89 American and British recording artists, 1896-1946, McFarland, 1998


Among the magazines and periodicals are:

  • Plays and Players (1961 to date; incomplete)
  • Radio Times (vol. 1, issue 1: 1923, to date)
  • Theatre Record (vol. 1, issue 1: 1981 to date)

Electronic Resources

The following is a selection:
  • English Drama Online
  • International Index to Performing Arts
  • Literature Online
  • Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present
  • SearchMuze - includes a database of commercial spoken word products issued in the UK.

Further information

Sound & Vision Reference Service
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7831
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7691

E-mail: Ask the Sound & Vision Reference Team