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Voicing an Opinion About Voice-Based Content

Several recent projects with very cool coverages have left me thinking a lot lately about my belief that “content is content” and my conviction that managing it must begin with the reasons it needs to be managed – not the media type it represents.

Happily, nothing in my recent work suggests this opinion ought to be vacated, as my clients’ drivers of change still are all steeped in business process. But it has been interesting to note that the adoption of new media types appears to be taking hold somewhat more quickly than I had anticipated – and nowhere is this more evident than in the use of voice.

Swimming in the Mainstream
It’s the better part of a decade since I lent a significant hand to an organization with a serious interest in bridging the infrastructures that separately support information management and voice communication, and it still makes perfect sense since the mainstreaming of voice over IP has pretty well obliterated the functional line between the two camps.

Today, however, voice technology has permeated well beyond the corporate world and is part of many people’s daily life. Writers – like me! – routinely use voice recognition software to capture large tracts of mental content, and the capability further resides in millions of pockets worldwide in the form of Siri on the iPhone and her virtual-assistant cousins on other platforms. For sure, it’s not a coincidence that a recent episode of the TV show The Big Bang Theory revolved around precisely this utility!

Raise Your Voice … to the Level of Content
So what does this mean for information professionals like you? Mostly – back to where we started – don’t think about it as spoken content – think about it instead as content, and track its usage and flow as if it were any other kind (text, image, etc.).

Yes, critical tasks like extracting metadata and creating indexes can be made more complicated because speech files contain waveforms and not words and numbers. But this in no way diminishes the importance of properly performing these tasks – if anything, they become only that much more important because so much more information is being generated and shared in this new way.

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