Anna Kvicalova and Karin Bijsterveld publish OA “Comparing Voices: Speaker Identification Witness Seminar”

book cover "Comparing Voices"

Witness seminar transcripts on the history of speaker identification in Europe and the USA.

On 17 June 2022, historians of science Karin Bijsterveld and Anna Kvicalova gathered with a small group of specialists in forensic phonetics and acoustics at Maastricht University in the Netherlands for a witness seminar on the history of speaker identification. The group included Angelika Braun, Herbert Masthoff and Maartje Schreuder, and in a second sitting, Peter French. The event was co-organized by the Maastricht University Science, Society and Technology Studies research programme and Charles University (Centre for Theoretical Study) in Prague. The idea was to learn more about West European speaker identification methods by drawing on participants’ personal experiences in the field, and to gain new insights in speaker identification practices in Eastern Europe around 1989.

The seminar was conducted without an audience, but a transcript of the discussion and interactions is now made available as an Open Access publication. The transcript can be downloaded here.

The publication provides a unique source of information for academics as well as speech science practitioners, offering a glimpse into the field’s development over time. It also contributes to a corpus of oral history sources on the history of the 20th century science and technology.