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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Fall 2016


Science and Technology Resources on the Internet

Select Internet Resources on Acoustics

Angela R. Davis
Engineering Liaison Librarian
Engineering Library
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania


Scope and Methods
Web Sites
Research Centers
Professional Organizations
Education and Careers
Online Courses


Merriam-Webster (2016) defines acoustics as, "a science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sounds." According to Rossing (2014), the study of acoustics began in ancient Greece with Pythagoras’ study of vibrating strings on musical instruments. Since those early beginnings, famous scientists including Rayleigh, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison, have helped expand the field of acoustics to include architectural, physical, engineering, structural, underwater, physiological and psychological, musical acoustics, and speech. Acoustics is a highly interdisciplinary field and researchers may need resources from physics, medicine, and engineering to understand all aspects of their research.

Scope and Methods

This guide is focused on resources that can be of use to a specialized audience including librarians working with engineering, science, and technology fields, higher education faculty, researchers, and graduate students. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the acoustics field, the focus of this guide is to introduce all aspects of the field. Sources included were chosen from targeted searches of Google, the LibGuides Community web site, and from suggested links on acoustical professional society web pages. All sources meet the following criteria for inclusion: freely available; current information; usability of information for the intended audiences; and quality of the information. Due to the ever-increasing number of resources available, it is impossible to create an exhaustive list.

Web Sites

web sites list resources that provide an overview of acoustics topics. Also included are acoustics tools and animations to assist researchers.
This web site is maintained by the American Acoustical Society (ASA) and provides information presented at ASA conferences. Its strongest feature is in the translation of conference papers into lay language, thus making the research easy to understand by new and seasoned researchers. These papers are located in the Current Meeting and ASA Press Room Archives sections of the web site.
Acoustics and Vibrations Animations
This site, maintained by Dr. Dan Russell, professor of acoustics at the Pennsylvania State University, contains physically and mathematically correct animations of acoustics phenomena created using Mathematica software. The numerous animations fall into two categories: Sound Waves and Sources and Vibration and Structural Waves. The web site also includes links to YouTube videos of acoustics demonstrations and interactive Mathematica plots to aid students in understanding acoustics phenomena. These can also be used as educational tools in the classroom.
Acoustics Atlas
The Acoustic Atlas, curated by the Montana State University Library, includes more than 2,500 recordings of species and environments from throughout the Western United States. This resource, which “emphasizes the strong connection between natural sounds and regional ecosystems,” is a useful tool for researchers to study the human-caused noise effects on the environment. It can also be used in research on the impact of human created noise and its effect on animals.
Engineering Toolbox: Acoustics
The Engineering Toolbox: Acoustics page provides formulas, data, and information on room acoustics, acoustic properties, decibels, noise rating (NR) curves, sound transmission, sound pressure, sound intensity, attenuation, and more. These resources are useful for students and practitioners and provides a centralized location for basic calculations and procedures used in all fields of acoustics.
McSquared System Design Group Acoustics Calculators
This web site, created by an ndependent consulting firm, include interactive calculators for decibels, reverb time, and speech intelligibility and can be used by students, researchers, and consumers of home audio systems. JavaScript is required to use these calculators.


Listed databases are open access, but registration may be required to access full-text materials.

National Technical Reports Library (NTRL)
The National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) is the database of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), the central clearinghouse for all U.S. government-funded scientific, technical, and engineering related information, including acoustics. Technical reports come from U.S. government laboratories including NASA’s AeroAcoustic Propulsion Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboraty, and many others that specialize in acoustics research. Free registration is required to access full-text documents; fee access is available for international users.
Open Acoustic Impulse Response (Open AIR) Library
Open Acoustic Impulse Response (Open AIR) Library is an online database of acoustical data, including auralization and acoustical impulse response data shared under Creative Commons licenses. Free registration allows users to share any impulse response data or anechoic sounds with fellow researchers. AudioLab of the Department of Electronics at the University of York, UK, hosts the database.
SciTech Connect
SciTech Connect is a database of research information in science, technology, and engineering fields from the U.S. Department of Energy. Searching on acoustical topics locates research on ocean acoustics, noise control, vibrations, and more; many of these documents are full-text and include data and multimedia files.


Listed journals are completely open access, peer reviewed, and include a multinational editorial board.

Advances in Acoustics and Vibration
This journal, published by Hindawi, “acts as a platform for dissemination of innovative and original research and development work in the area of acoustics and vibration.” This journal is targeted at researchers and practitioners and includes both theoretical and experimental research covering all fields of acoustics.
EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing
Springer publishes this interdisciplinary journal associated with the European Association for Signal Processing (EURASIP). Its focus is bringing together researchers, scientists, and engineers working on theory and applications of, “speech communication and audio processes of both human speech communication science and automatic speech and audio systems.”
This Elsevier jounal publishes peer-reviewed original research and review articles focused on biological and medical acoustics, specifically the fields of photoacoustics/optoacoustics and thermoacoustics, “which exploits optically and electromagnetically excited acoustical and thermal phenomena for visualization and characterization of a variety of materials and biological tissues, including living organisms.”

Research Centers

Programs and research centers list units supported by colleges and universities researching acoustics topics.

Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University
Research conducted at CCRMA focuses on musical acoustics, computer music, psychoacoustics, and related areas. The publications section provides citations for materials published by center researchers in journals and conference proceedings. The site also includes information on concerts, colloquia, and seminars given by the center. For prospective students, the academics section provides an overview of courses and required work to achieve a degree and can be used to aid those interested in learning more about the study of acoustics.
Center for Ocean Engineering, MIT
This center’s research includes ocean acoustics, sonar, wave mechanics, and many other topics related to ocean engineering. The Students section provides a FAQ for students interested in studying ocean engineering and related coursed offered at MIT to provide an overview of the field. The News + Events section provides a calendar of lectures and talks by center researchers that are open to the public.
Center for Spoken Language Understanding, Oregon Health & Science University
This research center focuses on physiological acoustics, specifically speech and medical imaging.The research section provides links to all of the Center’s projects in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT), which collects all details of a project from funding, published articles, and patents, allowing researchers to follow a project throughout its lifecycle. It also searches RePORT for similar research. Many of the articles are published on the PubMed platform to provide open access to users.
Laboratory for Atmospheric Acoustics, SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Research at this laboratory is focused on propagation modeling and infrasound sources. Links are included to an index of peer-reviewed publications by laboratory researchers and a photo gallery of data collection arrays and research trips.
Laboratory of Comparative Psychoacoustics, University of Marlyand, College Park
Research at this laboratory is focused on understaning the parallels between how small birds and humans communicate. Researchers working on vocal learning or effects of noise on hearing will find this site useful. Links are included to provide a lay-language overview of current research projects and an index of publications. Publications include some PDF full-text and contact information for the laboratory director to obtain the full-text of the others listed.
Marine Bioacoustics Lab, SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Research at this lab is focused on, “non-lethal acoustic methods and technologies to study highly exploited and endangered marine species and effects of anthropogenic noise on marine life.” An index to lab publications is included. Publications are focused on how human noise in the world’s oceans is effecting marine animal’s ability to mate and communicate. Additional research is being done on marine mammal acoustical communication.
Nanomedicine and Medical Acoustics Laboratory (NanoMedAL), Boston University
The laboratory was founded in 2006 to, “study stimuli-responsive colloids for diagnostic and therapeutic applications and provide education and training in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, acoustics, and nanotechnology.” Research projects include acoustic droplet vaporization and bubble-enhanced heating and ultrasound contrast agents. An index to publications is included for further information on these topics.
National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA), University of Mississippi
Research at this center focuesses on acoustics in porous media, atmospheric acoustics, aeroacoustics, infrasound, ultrasonics, materials science, and resonant ultrasound spectroscopy. Publications are indexed and grouped by research area.
Ocean Acoustics and Signals Lab (OASL), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Research areas at this lab cover acoustic propagation in shallow water, long-range sound propagation, bioacoustics, signal processing and underwater communication, ocean acoustic tomography, sound monitoring using gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles, and turbine noise in the ocean. Links are provided to give an overview of current and past research projects. Some projects also include multimedia including images, audio, and videos. Additional links include information on related educational programs at MIT and OASL.
Perceptual Science Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz
Research efforts at this laboratory are focused on, “developing, evaluating, and applying animated agents to produce realistic and accurate speech and computer-assisted speech.” Publications of laboratory director Dr. Dominic W. Massaro are included as full-text PDF downloads. Also available is an index of book reviews in the American Journal of Psychology written by lab researchers. The web site also includes an educational demos section that links to YouTube videos of past research and syllabi and coursework from UC Santa Cruz’s Psychology 134: Technology Assisted Reading Acquision course that focuses on understanding the acquisition of language.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Architectural Acoustics Laboratories
This web site provides links to several laboratories conducting research on architectural acoustics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute including Communication Acoustics and Aural Architectural Research Laboratory (CA3RL), Lab of Acoustics Sensing and Information Processing (LASIP), and Laboratory for Advances Research in Acoustics (LARA). An index to publications is included. Educational information on requirements and sample curriculum of a Master of Science in architectural sciences with a concentration in architectural acoustics is also available.
Sound Perception & Room Acoustics Laboratory (SPRAL), Pennsylvania State University
Research at this laboratory includes acoustic sound fields and concert hall auralizations. Some full-text of publications is included under categories of peer-reviewed publications, conference proceedings, dissertations and theses, and conference presentations. Addtionally, current and past research projects are described with links to descriptions of the equipment used for collecting data.
Vibrations & Acoustics Laboratories, Virginia Tech
This web site describes the research conducted at four Virginia Tech vibrations and acoustics laboratories, which includes the Modal Lab, Airport Lab, Anechoic and Reverberation Chambers, and National Institute of Aerospace. Research is focused on structural acoustic control, distributed active vibration absorbers, vibration control of aircraft interior noise, active control of turbofan inlet noise, unmanned underwater vehicles, and many others. An overview of these research topics is included, as well as an index to publications. A list of laboratory equipment is provided to indicate the laboratories data capture capabilities. A feature of note is the active noise control demo, which provides details on a simple, at-home acoustics experiment on canceling noise signals through a personal computer.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations facilitate networking among professionals, sponsor national and international meetings, and publish research. Many of their resources are freely available, paid membership may provide access to additional information.

Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is, “the premier international scientific society in acoustics, dedicated to increasing and diffusing the knowledge of acoustics and its practical applications.” ASA holds biannual meetings at various locations in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, ASA is involved with the creation of standards with the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), and provides educational and funding opportunities to students and early career acoustics professionals. Several publications, including Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Noise Control magazine, and ECHOES Newsletter, are published by ASA.
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is a professional society for the physical sciences that provides, “authoritative information, services, and expertise in physics education and student programs, science communication, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research in physics employment and education, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and allied fields.” Physics is the umbrella that the field of acoustics sits under. Similar to sections or committees of other professional organizations, AIP supports member societies with conference and publication services. These member societies include the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and American Meteorological Society (AMS).
American Meteorological Society (AMS)
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is, “the nation’s premier scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences.” Meetings of the society are held annually; AMS also sponsors numerous additional forums and specialized conferences. While AMS does not have a specific committee focused on acoustics topics, many of the members are publishing on acoustics of the atmosphere and related topics; these can be located through a site search.
Noise Control & Acoustics Division (NCAD) of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
The Noise Control & Acoustics Division (NCAD) of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), focuses on, “the development and application of noise control and acoustics principles to all engingeering branches.” Numerous ASME conference and committee meetings are held annually at worldwide locations and include many opportunities for professional development. Additionally, ASME publishes the Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, in addition to other standards, journals, and monographs related to acoustics.
Audio Engineering Society (AES)
This international professional organization focuses on audio technology work and unites audio engineers, creative artists, scientists, and students worldwide. AES hosts an annual convention in both the United State and Europe and holds periodic conferences focused on a specific field of audio engineering. AES also creates standards for acoustics, digital audio applications, and other related subjects. Additionally, they publish the AES Journal and the AES E-Library that provides access to convention, conference, and other technical papers, many available as open access publications.
Institute of Physics (IOP)
The Institute of Physics (IOP) is an international professional society located in the United Kingdom with worldwide membership of over 50,000 members. Numerous conferences, workshops, lectures, and public events are sponsored by IOP and their subgroups. Publications of IOP include scholarly journals, magazines, books, newsletters, and video and audio resources for educational purposes, as well as recent lectures from IOP members. Additionally, IOP is composed of many subgroups.
International Acoustical Societies and Organizations
This web site provides a listing of links to international acoustical societies maintained by the Acoustical Society of America. The societies listed are worldwide and all inhabited continents are represented. Many of these society web pages include links to conferences, member research, and publications.
Medical Physics Group of the Institute of Physics (IOP)
The Medical Physics Group of the Institute of Physics (IOP) promotes the interests of members in medical physics, including ultrasound, MRI, emerging imaging techniques, and others. The web site includes a calendar of events, newsletter, and useful links to presentations on related topics.
National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA)
The National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) focuses on, “the prevention of hearing loss due to noise and other environmental factors.” NHCA provides professional development resources, educational initiatives, and recognition of professional efforts. Additionally, NHCA sponsors an annual conference for members to share research and collaborate. Publications of NHCA include Spectrum and a supplemental issue of the International Journal of Audiology that highlights research presented at NHCA conferences.
Physical Acoustics Group of the Institute of Physics (IOP)
This subgroup within the Institute of Physics (IOP) focses on, “fundamental aspects of acoustic wave propagation and the interaction of acoustic waves with matter.” The web site includes links to conference reports, meeting minutes, and a calendar of events. They also provide an informal forum where current physical acoustics and ultrasonics in the UK and France are reviewed.
Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS)
The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) is focused on, “advancing education in the business of recording of both audio recording service professionals and students.” The organization is involved with research and community building related to room and building acoustics. Additionally, SPARS participates in the annual Audio Engineering Society (AES) conventions and offers focused programming for SPARS members on recording topics.

Education and Careers

Listed resources provide information for graduate students or others interested in pursuing a degree in acoustics, job seekers, and professionals seeking professional development opportunities.

Acoustics and You (A Career in Acoustics?)
This web site introduces the various fields of acoustics and provides basic definitions in easy to understand language. Each field is described in detail and provides information on the types of college courses needed for a future career in that acoustic field.
This web site is primarily focused on providing information for health care practitioners working with patients with hearing or speech disorders. It includes news and research articles, e-seminars for continuing education, a career center for job hunters, an AudiologyExpo section that reviews audiology devices, and an Ask the Expert section to allow for communication between researchers and practitioners in the audiology field.
Directory of Graduate Education in Acoustics, Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
This directory provides a searchable database of links to college and university departments and research centers that offer acoustics and related programs. This resource is a great starting place for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in acoustics.
This web site, created by the Institute of Physics (IOP), includes resources broadly related to physics. Searching “acoustics” in the Explore and Discover sections provides links to acoustics calculators and basic information on acoustics topics. The study section provides information to college level students on the study of physics, a foundational science for acoustics. The careers section provides a broad overview of physics related careers and can aid those interested in acoustics to discover the diverse range of job opportunities available.

Online Courses

Listed online courses are freely available massive open online courses (MOOC) that require registration; some of the courses provide the opportunity to gain college credit for a fee.

Acoustical Oceanography
Acoustical Oceanography is a graduate-level course hosted on MIT Open Courseware and presented by Jeff Lynch. The course covers, “current research topics in oceanography and how acoustics can be used as a tool to address them.”
Acoustics of Hearing and Speech
Acoustics of Hearing and Speech is graduate-level course hosted on MIT Open Courseware and presented by Christopher Shera, John Rosowski, Kenneth Stevens, and Louis Braida. The course, “reviews the physical processes involved in the production, propagation, and reception of human speech. Particular attention is paid to how the acoustics and mechanics of the speech and auditory system define what sounds we are capable of producing and what sounds we can sense.”
Advanced Structural Dynamics and Acoustics
Advanced Structural Dynamics and Acoustics is a graduate-level course hosted on MIT Open Courseware and presented by David Battle, Henrik Schmidt, and Tomasz Wierzbicki. The course covers, “foundations of 3D elasticity, fluid and elastic wave equations, elastic and plastic waves, acoustic fluids effects such as radiation and scattering and the response of plates and shells to high-intensity loads, dynamic plasticity and fracture, and structural damage caused by implosive and impact loads.”
Computational Ocean Acoustics
Computational Ocean Acoustics is a graduate-level course hosted on MIT Open Courseware and presented by Henrik Schmidt. The course, “examines wave equations for fluid and visco-elastic media, wave-theory formulations of acoustic source radiation and seismo-acoustic propagation in stratified ocean waveguides, and Wavenumber Integration and Normal Mode methods for propagation in plane-stratified media.”
Fundamentals of Audio and Music Engineering
Fundamentals of Audio and Music Engineering is hosted on Coursera and presented by Robert Clark and Mark Bocko of the University of Rochester. The course covers, “the basic concepts of acoustics and electronics and how they can be applied to understanding musical sound and make music with electronic instruments.” This course includes 12 hours of lectures and assignments.
Media and Methods: Sounds
Media and Methods: Sounds is an undergraduate-level course hosted on MIT Courseware and presented by John Picker. The course covers, “the ways humans experience the realm of sound and the rise of telephony, architectural acoustics, and sound recording.”
Speech Communication
Speech Communication is a graduate-level course hosted on MIT Courseware and presented by Kenneth Stevens. The course covers, “acoustical theory of speech production, acoustical and articulatory, and descriptions of phonetic features and of prosodic aspects of speech.”
Wave Propagation
Wave Propagation is a graduate-level course hosted on MIT Open Courseware and presented by Chiang Mei, Rodolfo Rosales, and Triantaphyllos Akylas. The course covers, “the Linearized theory of wave phenomena in applied mechanics including elasticity, acoustics, geophysics, hydrodynamics and other subjects.”


Acoustics. [Internet]. [Cited 2016 July 15]. Available from:

Rossing T.D. 2014. A brief history of acoustics. In: Rossing T.D, editor. Springer Handbook of Acoustics. New York (NY): Springer New York. p. 11–27.

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