Glossary of Terms

The ARSP website includes different kinds of edited audiovisual materials. We have identified these different types of materials in the following ways:

An excerpt from a single field recording, minimally edited for quality and clarity. Some clips include multiple excerpts from the same original recording. The Explore section of the ARSP website features hundreds of clips from our archive.
An interpretive audio piece that combines excerpts from multiple recordings. Collages have been integrated into the exhibits in the Gallery section of the ARSP website. They generally do not appear in the Explore section of the site.
A collection of audio, visual, and textual content curated to explore a particular theme, pattern, or story. The Gallery section of the ARSP website includes multiple curated exhibits.

Each clip in our archive has been tagged according to a number of filter categories. For more on our tagging process, please see our FAQs and Ethics Statement. Below are brief explanations of how we have defined and applied these tags:

Clips are tagged by religious tradition according to at least one of three criteria: 1) self-identification of any individuals or groups on the recording; 2) any religious traditions referenced on the recording; 3) the identity of the space in which the recording was produced. For example, a clip labeled “Muslim” might feature individuals who self-identify as Muslim or it might feature a public conversation about Islam or it might have been recorded within the space of a mosque. In the case of Christianity, we distinguish among Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions. For other religions, we do not distinguish among denominations or sects. In cases where multiple traditions are featured or referenced, clips are tagged according to all applicable categories. “Interfaith” refers to events that were specifically promoted in that way, not to any recording featuring multiple traditions. As with all other tags, the ARSP research team uses its best judgment in uncertain or ambiguous situations.
This filter category refers to languages that are either spoken or referred to in audio clips.
This filter category refers to the types of sounds that are heard or referred to on audio clips. They might be produced by instruments, vocalizations, embodied practices, machines, or ambient reverberations. Silence is also categorized as a type of sound. In addition, this category describes the context in which the recording was produced, such as an interview, festival, or formal worship service.
Some of the specific tags invite further clarification:
  • Ambient: applied when ambient sounds, like snippets of informal conversation or passing traffic, were primary or significant material included on recording.
  • Amplified: electronic amplification of voices, as through use of loudspeakers or megaphones.
  • Single voice: recording features single human voice.
  • Multiple voices: recording features multiple human voices, either simultaneously or consecutively.
  • Animals: non-human animal vocalizations/noises
  • Recorded music: live event included pre-recorded music. In these cases, we do not name the individual instruments or voices included on the recording.
  • Instruments: any instruments other than drums, piano/keyboards (including organs), bells, or handheld percussion. These categories are tagged separately because of their prevalence in recordings. Handheld percussion includes instruments like tambourines, rattles, and shakers.
This filter category refers to the type of space in which a field recording was produced. We classify spaces based on their aural qualities, openness to the public, and purpose. These categories are intended to provide context for the material recorded and information about sonic surroundings.
  • Indoors: inside a permanent building
  • Outdoors: outside a permanent building (includes event tents, pavilions, etc)
  • House of Worship: any space or property permanently designated for worship, prayer, ritual, or meditation. This designation may include outdoor and indoor spaces. It does not include situations where religious services regularly take place in borrowed commercial or event spaces.
  • Domestic/home: any private residential household space, indoor or outdoor; could include common areas of residential spaces such as shared yards in apartment complexes. Does not include university dorms.
  • Educational space: any property belonging to or long-term leased by a school, college, or university. This includes teaching spaces, offices, quads, dormitories, institutionally owned spiritual and religious spaces, public or private primary and secondary schools, and other educational institutions.
  • Commercial space: any space intended to facilitate business, including retail establishments, restaurants, transportation hubs, malls, offices (excluding those directly affiliated with an educational institution, government department, or house of worship). These may be indoors or outdoors.
  • Shared event space: any space that is owned by one entity for the purpose of sharing it (for free or fee) with other groups. The owning entity may or may not be religious. These may include convention centers, expo centers, retreat centers. It does not include worship spaces (or spaces in houses of worship) that are occasionally or regularly shared with other religious groups.
  • Civic space: spaces owned by federal, state, or local government entities and used for governance, administration, public services, or public assembly. These may include state capitols, courthouses, designated public squares, government offices, and VA services.
  • Green space: parks (of any size: city, county, state, national), nature reserves, arboreta, large cultivated gardens, expansive farmland. This does not include domestic backyards.
  • Streets: spaces used for the movement of people and vehicles, generally paved or improved. These are spaces accessible to the public. While generally outdoors, indoor spaces like skybridges that cross over roads might also be considered streets.
  • Memorial space: any burial ground, mausoleum, space of mourning, or memorial monument. These need not be explicitly religious. Funeral homes and similar facilities are included.
This filter category refers to the season in which the field recording was produced.
  • Spring: March - May
  • Summer: June - August
  • Autumn: September - November
  • Winter: December - February
This filter category refers to the day of the week on which the field recording was produced.
This filter category refers to the time of day during which the field recording was produced.
  • Morning: event is in the morning, occurring before noon
  • Midday: event spans the middle of the day (late morning through early afternoon)
  • Afternoon: event begins after noon
  • Evening: event begins after 5pm and ends before 9pm
  • Overnight: event occurs any time between 9pm and early morning
This filter category refers to the institutional affiliation of the recordist or recording team that produced a given field recording.