READ revolutionizes access to handwritten documents
From the Middle Ages to today, from old Greek to modern English, from running text to tables or forms
When we work together, there’s so much we can achieve! Amsterdam City Archives and VeleHanden have just launched a fantastic crowdsourcing initiative which combines the power of our Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology with the talents of volunteer transcribers.
- Try out Crowd leert computer lezen (or Crowd teaches the computer to read)
Amsterdam City Archives are interested in opening up access to the records of Amsterdam’s notaries, which span from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. These documents are ripe for further exploration for those interested in the rich social and economic history of the Dutch capital. The ultimate aim is to create a fully searchable record of this precious handwritten collection.
The team have been working with our Transkribus platform to train HTR models to recognise different parts of this collection.
- Take a look at a recent example of a seventeenth century document recognised with a Character Error Rate of 6%.
The HTR models were used to generate automated transcripts of the documents. It is now up to volunteers to correct any errors made by the machine!
The project is hosted on VeleHanden, a successful crowdsourcing platform created by the company Picturae. Crowd leert computer lezen is directly connected to the Transkribus web interface, meaning that any changes made by volunteers can be fed straight back into the system to improve the automated recognition.
Anyone can take part in this new project and explore various difficulty levels to find documents they are interested in. Volunteers collect points for their transcription work which can be redeemed at exhibitions and events at Amsterdam City Archives.
We are really looking forward to seeing what the computer can learn from the crowd…
Mark Ponte from Amsterdam City Archives gave us a sneak peak of the project at our recent Transkribus User Conference
Our latest milestone has put a big smile on our faces – there are now over 20,000 registered users of our Transkribus platform for Handwritten Text Recognition! People are working with Transkribus across the globe, using it to train hundreds of models to recognise texts of diverse dates, languages and styles.
Across the course of the READ project, we have welcomed over 13,000 new users of the platform and created a formidable network of people interested in opening up access to historical documents. We look forward to continued growth as we move into our next phase with READ COOP.