It is intended that the handbook should provide an essential reference work useful to a wide range of laboratories which are concerned with almost any aspect of spoken language technology. In particular, in addressing the production of the handbook, the Working Group has kept in mind that the potential readership should include:
The handbook is not intended to be a textbook about state-of-the-art algorithms and techniques in spoken language technology. However, there are dangers involved in the simplistic use of a handbook without a good understanding of the methods and principles involved. A reader who wishes to find out more along these lines can find appropriate tutorial material in a number of relevant books [Ainsworth (1988), Allerhand (1987), Bloothooft et al. (1995), Bristow (1984), Bristow (1986), Holmes (1988), House (1988), Lea (1980), Linggard (1985), Mariani (1989), Roe & Wilpon (1994), Rowden (1992), Witten (1982)], the proceedings of the major conferences on spoken language processing such as the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), the European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology (EUROSPEECH), the International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP), the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), and journals such as Speech Communication (North-Holland), Computer Speech and Language (Academic Press), the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and Natural Language Engineering (Cambridge University Press).
Likewise, although it is intended that the handbook should provide support to non-experts, it should be noted that there is a limit to what can be sensibly achieved on a ``DIY'' (do-it-yourself) basis. For example, some of the areas touched on in the handbook (room acoustics, for example) are huge fields in themselves. Hence, if detailed guidance is required, it is important to realise that there are a number of individuals and companies who already provide technical consultancy and services in such areas.