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Wikipedia Voice Intro Project (WikiVIP) launched to preserve voice recordings of celebrities

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Wikipedia will not just be a treasure trove of facts but a repository of voices as well. The world's largest online encyclopedia written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers, has announced a new project called Wiki Voice Intro Project or WikiVIP that will allow users to hear recorded voices of personalities featured on its wiki pages.

WikiVIP was initiated by Wikipedia editors Andy Mabbett and Andrew Gray. British actor Stephen Fry is among the first contributors but the project might in the future have voice recordings of teen pop icon Justin Bieber or boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

"The project asks people who are the subject of Wikipedia articles - whether they are celebrities like Stephen Fry, or those notable for other activities like scientists or artists - to make short recordings of their voice, lasting around ten seconds or so. The recordings are then uploaded to the article so that Wikipedia's readers know what they sound like and how to correctly pronounce their names," the Wikimedia blog read.

Wikipedia encourages users to ask people they know who are subjects of articles on the website to record their voices. The project is not just for English speakers but for people speaking any language.

"We discussed recordings of music, industrial and everyday sounds (what does a printing press sound like? Or a Volkswagen Beetle? What do different kinds of breakfast cereal sound like when milk is added?), as well as people's voices, so that we have a record of what they sound like," Mabbett wrote on his blog. "In the spirit of Wikipedia, all such recordings would be open-licensed, to allow others to use them, freely. They can then be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (the media repository for Wikipedia and its related projects) in an open format, namely Ogg Vorbis."

According to Wikipedia, Mabbett is also collaborating with BBC to extract clips from certain programs. With the organization issuing an open license so the materials can be uploaded to Wikimedia commons, a group of volunteers were able to pick 300 clips for review of the company. So far, about half of the materials has been uploaded to their respective pages, among them the voice of Burmese freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi lifted from the program "Desert Island Discs."

You can hear the voice of Stephen Fry and Aung San Suu Kyi below:

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