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Transforming Scholarship in the Archives Through Handwritten Text Recognition: Transkribus as a Case Study

Mühlberger, G; Seaward, L; Terras, M; Ares Oliveira, S; Bosch, V; Bryan, M; Colutto, S; ... Zagoris, K; + view all (2019) Transforming Scholarship in the Archives Through Handwritten Text Recognition: Transkribus as a Case Study. Journal of Documentation , 75 (5) pp. 954-976. 10.1108/JD-07-2018-0114. Green open access

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Abstract

Purpose – An overview of the current use of handwritten text recognition (HTR) on archival manuscript material, as provided by the EU H2020 funded Transkribus platform. It explains HTR, demonstrates Transkribus, gives examples of use cases, highlights the affect HTR may have on scholarship, and evidences this turning point of the advanced use of digitised heritage content. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – This paper adopts a case study approach, using the development and delivery of the one openly available HTR platform for manuscript material. Findings – Transkribus has demonstrated that HTR is now a useable technology that can be employed in conjunction with mass digitisation to generate accurate transcripts of archival material. Use cases are demonstrated, and a cooperative model is suggested as a way to ensure sustainability and scaling of the platform. However, funding and resourcing issues are identified. Research limitations/implications – The paper presents results from projects: further user studies could be undertaken involving interviews, surveys, etc. Practical implications – Only HTR provided via Transkribus is covered: however, this is the only publicly available platform for HTR on individual collections of historical documents at time of writing and it represents the current state-of-the-art in this field. Social implications – The increased access to information contained within historical texts has the potential to be transformational for both institutions and individuals. Originality/value – This is the first published overview of how HTR is used by a wide archival studies community, reporting and showcasing current application of handwriting technology in the cultural heritage sector

Type: Article
Title: Transforming Scholarship in the Archives Through Handwritten Text Recognition: Transkribus as a Case Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1108/JD-07-2018-0114
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-07-2018-0114
Language: English
Additional information: This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article ( for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons. org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode
Keywords: User studies, Library, Archives, Transcription, Neural networks, Digital humanities, Digital library infrastructure, Handwritten text recognition, HTR, Transcribing Paper type Research paper
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws > The Bentham Project
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065830
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