The collection of the Swiss National Sound Archives


The Swiss National Sound Archives are to sound recordings what the Swiss National Library is to printed documents: a place of collection and preservation of sound recordings for posterity. For over 25 years, the Swiss National Sound Archives, based in Lugano, have been archiving the sonic cultural heritage of Switzerland, making it available to all interested parties.

As of today, the collection includes more than 500'000 sound recordings, spanning over:

  • The productions of the Swiss record industry
  • Recordings of radio programs
  • Recordings of scientific research
  • Fonds and collections of composers, performers, and collectors

The collection grows by about 20-25'000 recordings every year. In recent years the Swiss National Library has entrusted its audio documents to its specialist sister institution. In 2016, the Phonotheque has been integrated into the NB as one of its sections.

From the consultation workstations located in the information room of the BN, the users can directly access the network of the Phonotheque, which enables them to listen to any documents that have been digitized so far: Every title of a document that is ready for listening is preceded by an icon. Clicking on this icon allows the user to listen to the selected sound document.

The users who access the catalog of the Phonotheque (either from home or from any of the AV-workstations) may request the preparation of a document that is not yet listenable online. To request the preparation of a document, simply complete an online form, available from the relevant link within the detailed view of the selected document. The Phonotheque informs the user by email as soon as the document is ready for listening.

Preparation delay: at least one week.
By means of the AV-workstations, the users can listen to all sound documents that have already been digitized, in the archives of the Phonotheque.

Last modification 07.01.2016

Top of page


Swiss National Library
Information Retrieval Service
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 89 35
Fax +41 58 462 84 08

Print contact