Good things come to those who wait. In June 2005, Rasmuson Foundation awarded $250,000 to University of Alaska Anchorage‘s LitSite Alaska to support a site redesign and content upgrade that could significantly change the way people access and experience Alaska history. Accordingly, much of the project’s success was predicated upon forging new content and technology partnerships.

Today, LitSite Alaska, an interactive Web site with a wealth of information, insights and stories about the history, diversity, culture and traditions of Alaskans and IBM announced that the global technology leader would bring native language and stories to life using its cutting-edge speech technology. Over 1,000 pages of text have been enhanced with audio files, using IBM WebSphere Voice Server text-to-speech software. These audio files even include uncommon pronunciations of Alaska Native names and words such as KwaashKiKwaan, Tlingit, and Inupiaq.

Both CNN Money and Trading reported on IBM’s support of LitSite. “Alaskan storytelling is an art form and LitSite is playing a critical role in continuing the tradition of preserving Alaskan culture,” said Kareem Yusuf, IBM Director of Product Management, WebSphere Software. “As a leader in speech technology, IBM is pleased to be playing a role in bringing Alaskan tradition to life on the Web through vocalizing traditional stories and native language.”

LitSite Alaska is a web community promoting literacy, cultural diversity, and well-being throughout Alaska. A gathering place for families, communities and teachers, LitSite Alaska features narratives illustrating many cultural aspects of life in Alaska. As an on-line learning tool, LitSite Alaska showcases a living archive of lesson plans used in Alaskan classrooms and an extensive collection of excellent peer work by Alaskan students.