Searching our Database

The TAD search allows users to browse our database of almost 46,000 recordings. We have added some additional filters to our simple search to make searching easier. If you can’t find what you’re looking for though, please get in touch - we’re always happy to help.


  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 closest to the top.
  2. We have added additional filters these include, genre, collection, language and recording date.
  3. You can also search by track or by person. Each of these have their own unique IDs. If you know the person ID you can enter this into the search box and select ‘person’ from the dropdown menu. For example entering 273 and selecting 'person' will give you the listing for Calum Iain Maclean. Likewise entering 58474 and selecting 'track' 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 tape. As this is a text search, it may not be completely accurate. However, if you click on the tape number (as highlighted below) within a track page, your results will be more accurate:


We now have over 1750 transcriptions available on the website. To find all transcriptions enter 'transcript' into the search box. You can then refine your search by using the genre, collection, language and date filters.

You can also include other key words like ‘fishing’ or ‘crofting’ if you would like to be more specific:

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


We’re planning to add a dedicated location search filter in the future. In the meantime, the following is a workaround which will allow you to access location related recordings.


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 or search in Gàidhlig Barraigh.


You can locate people from a particular place by entering a placename and selecting 'person' in the filters. This will show people who are connected with that place, with the most relevant at the top of the results page. This is an example of how to find people from Barra.


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 elsewhere. Here are some search examples:


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:


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.


The ‘Classification’ field provides references to several standard indexes of traditional songs and tales. The references in the field consist of a letter (or letters) identifying the classification system, followed by a number identifying a specific song or tale. Examples of Classification references:

These references can be very useful when searching for songs or tales which may have many versions or be known by different titles.

For example, the traditional ballad named 'Andrew Lammie' aka ‘Mill o Tifty’s Annie’ is indexed as both Roud no. 98, Greig-Duncan no. 1018, and Child no. 233. To return all versions of this ballad, you simply need to click on any of the Classification references associated with any version of the song (R98 GD1018 C233).

You can also perform a general search with Classification references on the website e.g. searching for 'R2155’ will return all versions of the song ‘Bogie’s Bonnie Belle’.