At the start of the EAGLES initiative, it was intended that all authoring activities would involve voluntary effort on the part of a large number of individual contributors. However within the Spoken Language Working Group, it had become apparent by the halfway stage in the project that this strategy would not guarantee that the agreed comprehensive plan for the handbook would in fact be realised. Therefore, in July 1994, a change in the funding arrangements was negotiated such that identified individuals could be paid a modest fee for acting as technical authors for the main chapters of the handbook.
These revised arrangements were a great success in unblocking the authoring log-jam and an initial draft of the handbook was completed in October 1994. This ``interim'' handbook covered 50% of the planned topics and was circulated widely throughout the international spoken language R&D community (see below).
The remaining topics were addressed by the Working Group during the second half of the project and a first draft of the full handbook was completed in September 1995. This was presented to the community for the first time at EUROSPEECH'95 (and at the following COCOSDA meeting).