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Guide to Discographical Research: Online Discographies

This is a guide to the range of resources useful for gathering information about specific recordings.

Online discographical resources

A number of invaluable resources exist online for discographical research. Several of our favorites are listed below.

  • Discography of American Historical Recordings: Hosted by the University of California at Santa Barbara, this site indexes more than 350,000 recordings of the Victor, Columbia, OKeh, Berliner, Edison, Zonophone, Gennett, Leeds & Catlin, Brunswick, and Decca labels, with more added each year. The site also provides free, full-text pdfs of historical print discographies.
  • Discogs: This crowd-sourced site indexes recordings of all formats--from wax cylinders to mp3s, though it is particularly rich in its listings of LP releases. Because it allows members to enter items from their own collections, it gives a sense of the rarity of particular recordings. It is also a marketplace for buyers and sellers of record and can be used to estimate the current selling price of recordings. Information entered into Discogs is carefully vetted, making the site a reliable resource.
  • The Online Discographical Project: This site lists 78rpm and cylinder releases in order by record label name and catalog number. In many cases, it includes date and place of recording.
  • 45cat: This is a database 45rpm releases that allows one to browse or search by label, artist, or keyword.
  • Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM): This online discography covers 78rpm releases from the Gramophone Company, as well as 78s and LP series from a variety of US and European companies. It includes data from the World's Encyclopaedia of Recorded Music (WERM)
  • Both Sides Now Publications: A site/endeavor by Mike Callahan that includes discographies of literally hundreds of U.S. record labels. It focuses specifically on LP albums.

Online Discographies on Specific Labels or Genres

  • The Jazz Discography: This database requires a subscription and can be accessed onsite at the Library for the Performing Arts. It provides references to both recording releases as well as recording sessions.
  • Columbia Records C Series: Created by Dick Spottswood, with the help of librarians and private collectors, this lists all known releases from the C Series, which was devoted to recordings made in New York City, Mexico City, Havana, and Buenos Aires for the Spanish-language market.
  • Columbia Records E Series: Created by Dick Spottswood, with the help of librarians and private collectors, this lists all known releases from the E Series, which was devoted to European artists and repertoire.
  • A Classical Discography: A database created by Michael Gray that indexes Western Classical recordings.