Monday, 20 September 2010

Websites for Writers: The American Folklife Center

It's Monday, so it's time for Websites for Writers, a regular feature about non-writing websites of use to people in this crazy profession.

This week's pick is the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. If you're writing fiction or nonfiction set in the U.S., this webpage is for you.

Their online collections are a goldmine. The best place to start is with their illustrated guide, which points the way to many interesting pages. My favorite is the Traditional Music and Spoken Word catalog, with recordings of everything from early blues tracks to prison songs, just the thing to get you into the mood to write your next scene. Also check out the interviews with Americans the day after Pearl Harbor, and compare with those from September 11.

You can search by state, or by region and country for their international collections. The Folklife Sourcebook will point you in the direction of other collections, publishers, and societies. They even have a Facebook page!

The Library of Congress has done a grand job making a large amount of information freely available on the web. Check out their other pages too for all sorts of goodies. I'll be featuring some of them in the future.

[Photo of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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