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MSU Library Developing Online Atlas of Natural Sounds of Montana

The Montana State University Library is developing an atlas of natural sounds of Montana and the American West.

The library’s new Acoustic Atlas includes animal and environmental sounds of some of the West’s most iconic species and places, including the snorts of bison in Yellowstone National Park, the howls of grasshopper mice and the underwater calls of frogs, according to program director Jeff Rice. The atlas is available for interested individuals to access online for free at acousticatlas.org.

The Acoustic Atlas is co-founded by Kenning Arlitsch, dean of the MSU Library, and Rice. The atlas draws on the talents of MSU faculty librarians and staff who help organize and describe the sound files, develop and maintain the website, and provide the hardware and software that allows sounds to be streamed to users. Additional sound recordists and developing partnerships will allow the collection to grow into a resource for teaching and research, as well as for the community.

Audio recordists and researchers who are interested in collaborating with the library on the project are invited to contribute sounds at acousticatlas.org/contribute. The project has seed funding from the MSU Library and the Willow Springs Foundation. Donations in support of the Acoustic Atlas may be made at acousticatlas.org/donate.

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