26 January 2014 - 11:33am | posted by | 0 comments

Stephen Fry kicks off Wikipedia's 'WikiVIP' voice recording service

Wikipedia hopes to preserve the voices of notable people for future generationsWikipedia hopes to preserve the voices of notable people for future

Stephen Fry is one of the first celebrities to lend his voice to new Wikipedia project, WikiVIP, which sees the online encyclopaedia adding the voice of celebrities and other notable personalities to enhance its sound files.

WikiVIP stands for 'Wikipedia Voice Intro Project', and is the brainchild of Wikipedia editors Andy Mabbett and Andrew Gray. The hope is to record what notable people sound like for "current and future generations" with Wikipedia hopeful that notable people such as scientists and artist will follow in Fry's footsteps and add a sample of their speaking voice to their Wikipedia page.

Additionally the BBC is set to work with Wikipedia to provide voice clips from some of its projects, ranging from Sir Tim Berners-Lee to Aung San Suu Kyi.

Of its involvement Matthew Postgate, controller, BBC R&D, said: “BBC R&D are always working on innovative and creative ways to help shape the future of media. As part of this, we regularly explore new ways of working with content. We’ve developed algorithms and tools that process large collections of TV and audio to generate useful information, such as topics or places mentioned in the programmes. As these processes can also identify voice patterns, we saw a great opportunity to run a trial with Wikipedia enthusiasts, giving them access to our technology and an audio archive full of notable figures.

"As part of this experiment we are releasing around 500 - 1000 short voice samples of prominent public figures to Wikimedia. We hope this will allow us to identify contributions in BBC programmes from the sound of speakers’ voices and when added to relevant Wikipedia pages these voice samples add a new dimension, allowing listeners to hear the voices of the people they're reading about."

Those with Wikipedia pages are encouraged to contact the WikiVIP team to help contribute to the project.

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