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Wikimedia London Office

Wikipedia looks to preserve celeb voices by adding them to pages

This is pretty cool. Wikipedia is looking to preserve the voices of celebrities and other high-profile people by getting them to record clips of their voices, which are then added to the pages concerning them.

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Among the first to take part in what the Wikimedia foundation calls the Wikipedia voice intro project (WikiVIP) was actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry. As with all the clips for the project, Fry’s voice sample lasts around 10 seconds and includes his name and some basic information about himself.

Once the recording of Fry’s voice was uploaded and added to his biography, it was also transcribed as timed text captions which are displayed as the audio plays.

The organisation is also working with the BBC on a project to extract similar clips from certain BBC programmes. Its efforts so far on that front have seen its volunteers identify 300 clips, which the BBC are reviewing, processing, and then uploading to Wikimedia Commons. From there, members of the Wikimedia community are adding them to articles. Examples added to articles so far range from world wide web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee to Aung San Suu Kyi.

The project is apparently open to anyone from around the world with Wikimedia asking the public to get voice samples of anyone who they know to be the subject of a Wikipedia article. The recordings of their voices can also apparently be made in any language in which they’re comfortable.

Wikimedia has posted all of the voice recordings made for the project so far on a specialised page. If the project is successful, it could prove a massive boon for future historians as they’ll be able to get a sense of what people sounded like and how they pronounced their names and other words.