The Sonic Dictionary is a growing collection of more than 800 audio recordings created by university students. Our mission is to enhance the vocabulary of sonic experience

Project History

The project was inspired by the lack of reference materials available to people learning about audio culture. By experimenting with the form of a dictionary, we imagine how recordings can be used to increase our understanding of sound and sonic life, from environmental acoustics to listening practices and musical performance. The Sonic Dictionary is also home to multimedia work that draws from the Sonic Dictionary's content.

In the fall of 2013, the Sonic Dictionary was founded in the Audiovisualities Lab at Duke University's Franklin Humanities Institute through the support of the Humanities Writ Large Initiative, which was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Sonic Dictionary is currently hosted by Trinity Technology Services at Duke, with ongoing support from the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

For questions or to inquire about participating in the Sonic Dictionary, please contact Mary Caton Lingold at mclingold@vcu.edu

Project Team

Founder & Director
Mary Caton Lingold, Assistant Professor of English, Virginia Commonwealth University

Digital Humanities Technologist & Developer
Brian Norberg, IT Analyst, Trinity Technology Services, Duke University

Managing Assistant
Jane Harwell, MA student, Virginia Commonwealth University

Advisory Board
Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden, Assistant Professor of Music History, University of North Texas
Darren Mueller, Assistant Professor of Musicology, Eastman Conservatory
Laura Williams, Music Librarian, Duke University
Danielle Skeehan, Assistant Professor of English, Oberlin College
Sylvia Miller, Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University
Louise Meintjes, Associate Professor of Music and Anthropology, Duke University
John D. Martin III, PhD Student in Information & Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Silvia Serrano, PhD Student in Romance Studies, Duke University
Deeksha Malhotra, Undergraduate Pre-Med Major, Duke University
Imani Mosley, Metadata Editorial Consultant, PhD Student in Music, Duke University
Craig Eley, Assistant Director of Humanities Networks, UW-Madison Center for the Humanities
Logo design by Andrew McDonald

In the Press

NPR.org, Sonic Dictionary, An Aural History Project
WUNC.org, For All Your Southern Needs, A Sonic Dictionary
Duke Today, Documenting the South Through Sound

Privacy Policy for Contributors

We respect your privacy. Personal information such as your name and e-mail is obtained only when voluntarily submitted. Any information you provide will not be released, sold, or rented to any entities or individuals outside of the Sonic Dictionary project. We will use your contact information only for Sonic Dictionary activities.