About the Universal Category System

The Universal Category System (UCS) is a public domain initiative by Tim Nielsen,  Justin DruryKai Paquin, among others, and supported by sound librarians, vendors, and users from around the globe.

Our aim is to provide and encourage the use of a set category list for the classification of sound effects. We hope that in doing so, we can offer a framework for consistent categorization of sound effects, offer uniformity in a filename structure, and ease the pain of maintaining a sound effects library.

We also hope to provide tools to make naming and categorizing sound effects easier for everyone who maintains their own personal or a professional library.

New in UCS 8.2

UCS Overview


All the resources for the UCS are available in our Dropbox repository.

Access now

Here are a few alternate links in case the above link has reached its bandwidth limit:


The main home for the UCS is on Slack. Please join us by following the invitation link below:

We also have a YouTube channel, a mailing list and a Facebook page. You are welcome and encouraged to join us on any of these platforms by clicking the links below:

Thank you!

Special thanks to Justin Drury at Soundminer, and to Kai Paquin, for all their help in bringing UCS to life.

To the brain trust who spent hours on zoom meetings helping us hash out the list itself: Andrew Quinn, Andy Martin, Arnoud Traa, Cédric Chatty, Chris Battaglia, Jeff Davis, Justin M. Davey, Michal Fojcik, Mikkel Nielsen, Paul Poduska, Roy Waldspurger, Théo Terror, Tim Farrell, and Tristan Horton.

To Andrew Moore for UCS File Renamer, Aaron Cendan for his excellent Reaper tools for UCS, and Michael Pierluissi and Mark Winter for the Renamer tools. And to Steve Paquin for developing Audio Category Clipper, the best program for newcomers to the system.

And to the people around the world who helped craft the various translated versions of the list: Oscar Rydelious, Gray Haugholt, Are Teashkin, Vitali Zavadskyy, Alvaro de Iscar, Andrii Voloschuk, Gustav Landerholm, Danijel Djuric, Colin Walder, Mikkel Nielsen, Michal Fojcik, Barbara Kapica, Arseny Tishkin, Mehmet Aksoy, Derrick Espino, Giel van Geloven, Arnoud Traa, Frank Kruse, Bo Li, Jamie Lee, Deb Dourneau, Alan Zili, Sami Kiosk, Katrine Amsler, Simone Micheli, Aline Brujins, and Prashant Mishra, Muyan Pei, JingDong Yue, Yang Ding, Suty Shen, Eddy Liu, Xingyu Liu, Vatalli Stepchenko, Sultan Almasoud.

And to Prashant Mishra for all his work building and maintaining this homepage. Thank you so much!