Finding what you're looking for

The TAD search allows users to browse its database of almost 46,000 separate recordings. The search works differently from the previous website search and we hope to develop this function further following feedback from users. Please send us your feedback at

Simple Search

  1. The search is like a google search, you can search for as many terms as you’d like. The results will be ranked in terms of relevance with tracks that have the search words in their title appearing first.
  2. The search will return tracks – but can also return people. To do this, click on ‘Refine' and choose ‘Person’ from the dropdown menu. Once you have selected the person you are looking for, you can see all their tracks by clicking ‘Tracks by this person’.
  3. Remember that each Track and Person has their own ID. If you know the person ID you can enter this into the search box, for example, Person ID 10 is Hamish Henderson. Likewise entering Track ID 58474 will take you to The Jute Mill Song sung by Mary Brooksbank.
  4. In a similar vein, the collections, particularly, the School of Scottish Studies, have their own indexing systems and you can search using these numbers. For example, entering SA1973.115 will return tracks from this one tape.
  5. To find recordings from a particular year, enter that year into the search box. For example enter 1937 to browse our oldest recordings.
  6. To find recordings between certain years, for example between 1954 and 1956 enter years:[1954 TO 1956]

Searching by language and genre

To do more complex searches where you want to filter the results by genre or language require more complicated syntax. For example enter:

To filter by genre use the following terms:

You can combine these terms with other key words to provide more accurate results. For example:

Searching by Location

Placenames - Simple Search

You can search for locations by entering a placename into the search box. This will return a range of results related to that place, starting with tracks that contain that word in its title. For example, here is a search on Barra.

People - Native Area

You can locate people from a particular place by entering a placename and clicking on 'refine' and selecting 'person'. Here is an example of how to find people from Barra. This can include people who are connected in some way to Barra, but the most relevant results will appear at the top of the results page.

Item Location

Item location refers to the place a track is about. For example stories or songs can be about a place even though they were recorded somewhere else. This can be a particularly useful tool if researching material from a specific place, however, users should be aware that not all tracks have an item location. Here are some search examples:

Recording Location

In a similar vein, users may want to locate tracks that were recorded in a partiular place. To do so, follow the same pattern as above but substitute 'Item Location' with 'Recording Location'. For Example:

Knowing the place you are looking for

One of the biggest challenges when searching for tracks by location is knowing the hierarchy of a particular place. This hierarchy is based on the old county and parish boundaries from the 1950s. If you're not sure what county a place is related to, use this National Library of Scotland map from 1950.

Finding Transcriptions

We now have over 1,000 transcriptions available on the website. To find all transcriptions enter 'transcript' into the search box. Ignore the first three results which are SSSA tape numbers. All the results which follow are recordings with a transcript. You can then refine your search in the following ways:

You could also enter a keyword followed by the word 'transcript' to find transcripts related to a particular subject. For example:

If you'd like to find transcripts by a certain person, enter their name followed by 'transcript', for example Rev. Norman MacDonald Transcript will give you a list of transcripts related to Rev Norman MacDonald with the most relevant returned first. If users want to be more precise they can use their full title "MacDonald, Rev. Norman, 1904-1978 (568)" transcript. You can find the proper syntax for his name by looking at his contributor profile page and clicking 'Tracks by this Person'.

Key contributors with transcripts

The following is a short list of contributors who have a number of tracks transcribed:

If you are interested in finding a transcript or would like to submit your own, please contact Cailean Gordon