Overlapping and multi-touching text-line segmentation by Block Covering analysis

  • Abderrazak Zahour
  • Brunco Taconet
  • Laurence Likforman-SulemEmail author
  • Wafa Boussellaa
Theoretical Advances


This paper presents a new approach for text-line segmentation based on Block Covering which solves the problem of overlapping and multi-touching components. Block Covering is the core of a system which processes a set of ancient Arabic documents from historical archives. The system is designed for separating text-lines even if they are overlapping and multi-touching. We exploit the Block Covering technique in three steps: a new fractal analysis (Block Counting) for document classification, a statistical analysis of block heights for block classification and a neighboring analysis for building text-lines. The Block Counting fractal analysis, associated with a fuzzy C-means scheme, is performed on document images in order to classify them according to their complexity: tightly (closely) spaced documents (TSD) or widely spaced documents (WSD). An optimal Block Covering is applied on TSD documents which include overlapping and multi-touching lines. The large blocks generated by the covering are then segmented by relying on the statistical analysis of block heights. The final labeling into text-lines is based on a block neighboring analysis. Experimental results provided on images of the Tunisian Historical Archives reveal the feasibility of the Block Covering technique for segmenting ancient Arabic documents.


Block covering Text-line segmentation Overlapping and multi-touching lines Block Counting Ancient Arabic documents 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abderrazak Zahour
    • 1
  • Brunco Taconet
    • 1
  • Laurence Likforman-Sulem
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wafa Boussellaa
    • 3
  1. 1.IUTUniversité du Havre/GEDLe HavreFrance
  2. 2.TELECOM ParisTech/TSI and CNRS-LTCIParisFrance
  3. 3.Université de Sfax, REGIMSfax (BPW)Tunisia

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