In Codice Ratio: Machine Transcription of Medieval Manuscripts

  • Serena Ammirati
  • Donatella FirmaniEmail author
  • Marco Maiorino
  • Paolo Merialdo
  • Elena Nieddu
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 988)


Our project, In Codice Ratio, is an interdisciplinary research initiative for analyzing content of historical documents conserved in the Vatican Secret Archives (VSA). As most of such documents are digitized as images, Machine Transcription is both an enabler to the application of Knowledge Discovery techniques, as well as a useful tool to the paleographer for speeding up the transcription process. Our approach involves a convolutional neural network to recognize characters, statistical language models to compose and rank word transcriptions, and crowdsourcing for scalable training data collection. We have conducted experiments on pages from the medieval manuscript collection known as the Vatican Registers. Our results show that almost all the considered words can be transcribed without significant spelling errors.



We thank NVIDIA Corporation for the donation of a Quadro M5000 GPU, and Regione Lazio (Progetti di Gruppi di Ricerca) and Roma Tre University (Piano Straordinario di Sviluppo della Ricerca di Ateneo) for supporting our project “In Codice Ratio”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serena Ammirati
    • 1
  • Donatella Firmani
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marco Maiorino
    • 3
  • Paolo Merialdo
    • 2
  • Elena Nieddu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesRoma Tre UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceRoma Tre UniversityRomeItaly
  3. 3.Vatican Secret ArchivesVatican CityItaly

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