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Speedy Retrieval of Information on the Telephone

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A prototype audio-text information service has been developed in a library environment. The project has tested the effectiveness of voice recognition technology in information searching in the public library environment. Four public library authorities from Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands have cooperated in this research and have implemented the prototype service. The project has resulted in a service based on a product which is independent of language, speaker and telephone interface and which can be used by European libraries at low cost. SPRINTEL has important implications for efficiency improvement and cost containment in public libraries, at a time when the general public's expectations of the service have risen and people are increasingly more critical consumers of information. Users can enjoy access to library information 24 h per day wherever they happen to be. Library services will also be more available to customers liable to have access problems, such as the disabled, the housebound, people with limited mobility and those with reading difficulties. Library services in general can benefit from the release of skilled staff from mundane telephone duties to direct library activities. Additional information is available from website