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Program National Recording Preservation Board

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the National Recording Registry.

What is the National Recording Registry?

The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress. These recording are not necessarily selected as the “best” recordings of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture and, hence, in need of permanent preservation by either the Library of Congress or another qualified institution.
Twenty-five recordings are named to the Registry each year.

Who selects the titles for the Registry?

The Librarian of Congress makes the annual selections to the Registry after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and after conferring with the Library’s curators and the distinguished members of the National Recording Preservation Board.

Are there any restrictions regarding titles that are eligible for the Registry?

Only two: a recording must be at least 10 years old and a copy of it must exist someplace i.e. a “lost” recording are not eligible.

When are recordings selected for the Registry?

Near the beginning of each calendar year with those selections reflecting the year just past. Look for the annual announcement in either February or March of each year.

Can the public participate?

Absolutely! In fact, you're encouraged to submit your nominations each year. Members of the public may nominate up to 50 recordings each calendar year. Submit your recommendations through this portal.

What’s on the Registry?

A complete list titles can be found here. At this link, you can also search by the oldest and newest recordings on the Registry as well as by genre and other factors.

Does the Library of Congress own the recordings on the Registry?

No, the Library does not own the recordings on the Registry. The recordings are generally owned by an individual, a network or a major record label. In a few cases, the recording is in the public domain.

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