Wikipedia is documenting history with more than just photos and text — the free encyclopedia is now cataloging the voices of famous people.
Here's a clip from actor Stephen Fry: "Hello, my name is Stephen Fry. I was born in London. And I've been in the entertainment business since, um, well I suppose about 1981."
The project is called Wikipedia Voice Intro Project, or WikiVIP, and it aims to catalog the voices of notable people: scientists, actors, celebrities. It was created to give readers a way to hear what a person sounds like and to offer insight into how their name is pronounced.
And it has actually been in the works for some time. Wikipedia editor pigsonthewing originally proposed the idea in October 2012.
But it was only recently recognized by the media after the BBC agreed to license audio clips from its broadcast programs, and Stephen Fry gave it a signal boost with this tweet announcing his participation. (Via Twitter / @stephenfry)
We think Gizmodo does a good job summing up why the whole idea is awesome: "There's something intangibly powerful in the human voice. Curiosity leads us to wonder what great historical figures sounded like."
Wikipedia, Stephen Fry, and pigsonthewing are encouraging individuals with Wikipedia biographies to record their voices for the project.