Famous people of the internet — and the world at large — are being asked to record their voice for digital archiving as part of a year-old Wikipedia project. That effort, led by Wikipedia contributor Andy Mabbett, began in late 2012 and is now getting off the ground with recordings by British celebrity Stephen Fry and astronaut Charlie Duke. The program asks for anyone with their own Wikipedia entry to record a short snippet (around 10 seconds) that's attached to the page with its own audio transcription. The end goal is to add a little more character and personality to entries, which are typically just made up of text and photos.

A permanent record of the living and the dead

A similar program by Mabbett dovetails the voice intro project by capturing segments of people talking on BBC radio programs. Some of those subjects may have been dead for years, making it a direct way to archive studio-quality versions of their voice. Unlike the plan for living individuals though, this project runs past recordings through software to identify speakers by their speech patterns, later relying on humans to verify who they are and to write transcriptions. The BBC is releasing between 500 and 1,000 clips to Wikimedia as part of that effort.

Some examples of pages that already have the audio clips include the aforementioned Stephen Fry, along with computer scientist Tim Bernsers-Lee, Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, and British politician Jim Knight.