Mass Digitization of Early Modern Texts With Optical Character Recognition Conference Paper uri icon


  • Optical character recognition (OCR) engines work poorly on texts published with premodern printing technologies. Engaging the key technological contributors from the IMPACT project, an earlier project attempting to solve the OCR problem for early modern and modern texts, the Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP) of Texas A8M received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to improve OCR outputs for early modern texts from the Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and Early English Books Online (EEBO) proprietary database productsor some 45 million pages. Added to print problems are the poor quality of the page images in these collections, which would be too time consuming and expensive to reimage. This article describes eMOP's attempts to OCR 307,000 documents digitized from microfilm to make our cultural heritage available for current and future researchers. We describe the reasoning behind our choices as we undertook the project based on other relevant studies; discoveries we made; the data and the system we developed for processing it; the software, algorithms, training procedures, and tools that we developed; and future directions that should be taken for further work in developing OCR engines for cultural heritage materials.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Christy, M., Gupta, A., Grumbach, E., Mandell, L., Furuta, R., & Gutierrez-Osuna, R.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Christy, Matthew||Gupta, Anshul||Grumbach, Elizabeth||Mandell, Laura||Furuta, Richard||Gutierrez-Osuna, Ricardo

publication date

  • January 2018