History of the Project
These online pages document the Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project (SSSHP) to collect and preserve tape recordings, technical records, artifacts, and other supporting materials of the development of speech synthesis technology. The records provide a history of the contribution of speech synthesis to an understanding of human speech production and perception, and a history of the development of computer voice-output.
Work on automatic analysis/synthesis of human speech (e.g., CODEC's, vocoders) is not being included in the SSSHP unless the synthesis parameters were artificially modified for voice-response applications.
The SSSHP, running from 1986 to 2002, was conducted by H. David Maxey and other volunteers from the speech research community, in collaboration with Bernard S. Finn, Division of Information Technology and Communications of the Smithsonian Institution. H. D. Maxey directed the technical aspects of the program and coordinated contacts with an Advisory Committee and the speech research laboratories. Elliot Sivowitch and Harold Wallace were Smithsonian liaisons for the project, with assistance from other Smithsonian experts as needed. John Fleckner, of the Smithsonian tape archive, took responsibility for the recordings. The items received are in the Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project Collection, Call No. ACNMAH 0417.
The Advisory Committee, consisting of the following members, critiqued the plan of work for the SSSHP, making many valuable contributions to the effort. Affiliation shown was in 1986.
|Franklin Cooper||Haskins Laboratories, USA|
|N. Rex Dixon||International Business Machines Corp., USA|
|Gunnar M. Fant||Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden|
|James L. Flanagan||AT&T Bell Laboratories, USA|
|Shizuo Hiki||Tohoku University, Japan|
|John N. Holmes||Joint Speech Research Unit, England|
|Dennis H. Klatt||Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA|
|Ronald R. Kline||IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, USA|
|Kazuo Nakata||Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan|
Preliminary outlines of each laboratory's research were constructed by H. D. Maxey from the following histories of speech synthesis. References from these histories are identified in the laboratory outlines by the letters B, I, or K within parentheses.
|B:||for the Benchmark book, SPEECH SYNTHESIS: BENCHMARK PAPERS IN ACOUSTICS, J. L. Flanagan and L. R. Rabiner, eds., Dowden Hutchinson and Ross, Inc., Stroudsburg, 1973. Reprints of important papers on speech synthesis.|
|I:||for the Ignatius Mattingly survey, "Speech Synthesis for Phonetic and Phonological Models", I. G. Mattingly, CURRENT TRENDS IN LINGUISTICS, T. A. Sebeok, ed., Vol. 12, Mouton, the Hague, 1974. Online, this site.|
|K:||for the Klatt survey, "Review of Text-to-Speech Conversion for English", D. H. Klatt, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 82.3, 737-793, Sept 1987. Online, this site.|
In many cases the preliminary outlines were edited and completed by contacts for the laboratories, as noted at the end of each outline.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING MATERIAL
IMPORTANT NOTE: We are no longer collecting objects for this collection, the submission instructions are provided for historical data only.
The following instructions were included with request letters to laboratories for copies of historical material. In later years, development of the Internet allowed electronic request and response.
LOG OF ITEMS RECEIVED
Each tape or disk recording, record, artifact, or reprint was assigned a sequential SSSHP number as received, starting with SSSHP 1 in 1988. In addition, speech samples within a tape or disk recording are denoted with sequential numbers. For example, synthetic speech sample "SSSHP 66.15" can be found as the 15th entry on tape SSSHP 66.
Some of the laboratory outlines refer to recordings in H. D. Maxey's collection, recordings for which better copies were sought. Maxey recordings are designated by the letter "T", followed by the year received and the order the tape was received that year. For example, recording T87.3 was the third one received in 1987. As above, reference to speech sample T87.3.5 refers to sample number 5 on Maxey tape T87.3.
H. David Maxey, IEEE Senior Member