Legasee joins forces with PHD students from the University of Sheffield to enhance technological offering

Veterans’ charity the Legasee Educational Trust is working with some of the brightest young minds at the University of Sheffield to develop special technology which will revolutionise the way people use Legasee’s renowned video archive.

The PhD students, from Sheffield’s UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Speech and Language Technologies (SLT), will study 80 of Legasee’s maritime interviews to help create an AI speech recognition tool which will sit in the Cloud and enable Legasee’s site visitors to more easily locate the people, events and stories that interest them.

The technology is designed to enhance the searching experience for users by overcoming some of the challenges posed by military oral history recordings such as regional accents, specialised terminology and codenames.  It will also ensure that Legasee’s archive becomes more digitally-resilient and accessible as it looks to its future.

Dr Stuart Wrigley of the University of Sheffield says:

“There are many challenges when dealing with oral history recordings in a military context such as accents, dialects, conversational speech, emotion, and specialised terminology, as well as specific names like codenames, geographical locations, battles, ships and vehicles.

“Our students are working in teams to apply advanced speech and language AI technologies to Legasee’s audio-visual archive recordings in order to combat some of these difficulties and support richer search and discovery results for end users.”

Martin Bisiker, Founder & Trustee of the Legasee Educational Trust, said

“The work that these remarkable students are doing with Legasee would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. Collectively, they are developing an automated speech recognition system that will pave the way to make online archives like our own more accessible to more people. As the voices of many of the veterans in our archive pass away, this work stands as a testimony to the value we place on their wartime sacrifices.”

Legasee is a team of volunteer film makers, writers, designers and storytellers who are passionate about capturing British military history through the personal recollections of the men and women who witnessed it first-hand. They provide students, teachers and researchers with unique access to a hi-definition video archive of interviews with veterans of military conflict from 1939 to the present day.

For further information about the work of Legasee, contact: Martin Bisiker at info@legasee.org.uk

For further information about the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Speech and Language Technologies (SLT), contact Dr Stuart Wrigley at s.wrigley@sheffield.ac.uk

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