+ What should be in your Digital Toolbox? Conference on 10 October 2016

The Linnean Society of London (one of READ’s MOU partners), in collaboration with the Transcribe Bentham initiative at University College London (UCL), is hosting a one-day conference on 10 October 2016.

The “Digital Toolbox” conference will showcase how innovative technology is being applied to the humanities and natural sciences.  It promises to demonstrate how researchers, curators and enthusiasts can use digital tools to explore historical and scientific material in new ways.

Image of a Linnean Society manuscript in Transkribus

Image of a Linnean Society manuscript in Transkribus

The technology behind the READ project and its current and future outputs will be discussed, along with other digital humanities projects from across the United Kingdom.

Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Humanities at UCL will be the keynote speaker.

More details on the full programme will be available soon.

There will be a small registration fee of £15 for the event.  This will cover tea/coffee, lunch and a wine reception.  Please find the registration form here:  https://www.linnean.org/meetings-and-events/events/what-should-be-in-your-digital-toolbox

+ The READ project comes back to Germany

The partners in the READ project will come together for an all-staff meeting in Passau, Germany from 20-22 September 2016.  The meeting will be hosted by Passau Diocesan Archives, who are one of the Large Scale Demonstrators in the project.

The first part of the meeting will be an open session where archivists, librarians and scholars can find out more about the READ project.  We will learn about the sacramental registers held by Passau Diocesan Archives and show how handwritten text recognition technology is being applied to these documents in the Transkribus platform.  Project participants will also provide a summary of the other data sets which form part of the READ project and explain how research competitions will encourage computer scientists to contribute to the improvement of our tools and technologies.

The rest of our time in Passau will be an opportunity for the project partners to discuss the next phases of our work. We will meet as one group and collaborate in smaller working groups to explore our different research priorities.  We are also happy to have the chance to explore Passau, the town known as Bavaria’s “three river city” where the rivers Inn, Ilz and Danube meet.


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Passau Diocesan Archives

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+ Transkribus ‘How to’ guides

We are happy to report that new ‘How to’ guides are now available to help those who want to work with Transkribus.

If you visit the Transkribus wiki, you will find the following ‘How to’ papers:

We hope you will find these documents useful and we welcome any feedback.

+ Bringing archives and technology together!

The READ project is featured in the latest issue of Insights magazine, which is produced by the ICARUS organisation.  ICARUS represents more than 160 archives in over 30 countries.

The coverage explains the aims of the project and also gives a summary of the ‘Technology meets Scholarship’ conference in January 2016, where the READ project held its kick-off meeting.

Our appearance in Insights magazine should help to spread the word about READ!  We look forward to developing our relationship with the archival community as our project continues.

+ National Archives Finland takes first steps towards Handwritten Text Recognition

The National Archives of Finland is committed to promoting access to documents relating to Finland’s cultural heritage.  Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology is now part of its mission.

The National Archives of Finland has digitised millions of documents, most of which are handwritten.  As a first step, 500 of these digitised pages have now been uploaded and transcribed in the Transkribus platform.  These documents range from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century and include estate inventories of the Finnish nobility, court books and land tax registers.  These 500 pages represent training data and will play a vital role in enabling HTR engines to recognise Swedish handwriting (which was used in official documents in Finland at this time).

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Manuscript page from the records of the Turku Court of Appeal, 1828-1829  (Image courtesy of Digital Archive, National Archives Finland)

READ researchers will use these pages to generate a HTR model that can be applied to other documents held in the National Archives of Finland.  This model will make it possible to automatically transcribe and search images of historical manuscripts, thereby ensuring easier access to the records of Finnish history.

500 pages is just the beginning!  The National Archives of Finland will continue to contribute training data as we move through the READ project and this data will help to improve the accuracy of the HTR technology.

+ Videos of READ presentations

If you want to find out more about READ, you can now watch the READ partners live in action!  Videos of presentations made at the co:op project’s ‘Technology meets Scholarship’ conference in January 2016 are now available.

Text transcripts and slides from the READ presentations are available here: http://read.transkribus.eu/2016/03/31/presentations-from-the-read-partners-now-available/

Videos of the READ presentations can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLElrWLCQvZaRny2G_gXAINGpCtNrpPBBO

For an introduction to HTR technology, try watching Dr Roger Labahn (University of Rostock) on ‘Handwritten Text Recognition.  Key Concepts’: https://youtu.be/3d-Iru6qLRc

 

 

+ READ meets in Valencia

At the beginning of May, the READ partners met together in sunny Valencia!  The Universitat Politècnica de València hosted a technical meeting where the group considered a range of current research questions in small workshops.  Eva Lang (Passau Diocesan Archives) has summarised the discussions on the co:op blog.

+ Presentations from the READ partners now available!

The READ project was launched in January 2016 at the ‘Technology meets Scholarship’ conference at the Hessian State Archives in Marburg (Germany).  This conference was organised by the co:op (community as opportunity – the creative archives’ and users’ network) project.

Slides and presentations from the READ partners are now available at the co:op website (see links below).  Videos of the presentations are also coming soon!

These presentations give a great introduction to the READ partners and the objectives of our project.

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Francesco Roberg (Hessian State Archives): Short Introduction to co:op and READ

Roger Labahn (University of Rostock): Handwritten Text Recognition.  Key Concepts

Enrique Vidal (Polytechnic University of Valencia): Keyword Searching as a Trade-Off Between Recall and Precision.  A New Way to Search Large Collections of Digitised Documents

Basilis Gatos (National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”): Hard Tasks in the Background.  Layout Analysis

Stefan Fiel (Technical University of Vienna): Automated Writer Identification and its Use Cases for Archival Documents

Louise Seaward (University College London): The Crowd, the Volunteers and the Supertranscribers.  Building and Supporting an Online User Community for the Bentham Edition

Christian Sieber (State Archives of Zurich): Transcription – Swiss Made.  The Projects of the State Archives of Zurich

István Kecskeméti  (National Archives Finland): In-House Digitisation as a Core Task.  The Finnish National Archives

Sebastian Colutto (University of Innsbruck): Transkribus.  A Virtual Research Environment for the Transcription and Recognition of Historical Documents 

Günter Mühlberger (University of Innsbruck): The READ project.  Objectives, Tasks and Partner Organisations

 

+ Conference at Archives Nationales

University College London presented at a conference at the Archives Nationales in Paris on 16 March 2016.

Researchers from France, the UK and Ireland came together to share ideas on using crowdsourcing for collaborative transcription and digital scholarly editing.  Louise Seaward gave an introduction to the READ project and explained how handwritten text recognition is being used by volunteers working on UCL’s Transcribe Bentham initiative.