Kalema: Digitizing Arabic Content for Accessibility Purposes Using Crowdsourcing

  • Gasser AkilaEmail author
  • Mohamed El-Menisy
  • Omar Khaled
  • Nada Sharaf
  • Nada Tarhony
  • Slim Abdennadher
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9042)


In this paper, we present “Kalema”, a system for digitizing Arabic scanned documents for the visually impaired such that it can be converted to audio format or Braille. This is done through a GWAP which offers a simple, challenging game that helps attract many volunteers for this cause. We show how such a tedious task can be achieved accurately and easily through the use of crowdsourcing.


Crowdsourcing GWAP Arabic Digitization Accessibility 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Library fire in Egypt clashes destroys ’irreplaceable’ 200-year-old documents,
  2. 2.
    ABBYY. OCR System, (2008) (Online; accessed May 19, 2014)
  3. 3.
    von Ahn, L.: Games with a Purpose. Computer 39(6), 92–94 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Alkafif, S.: Social initiative to digitize Arabic content (2011), (Online; accessed May 19, 2014)
  5. 5.
    Bakry, M., Khamis, M., Abdennadher, S.: Arecaptcha: Outsourcing arabic text digitization to native speakers. In: 11th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems (DAS), pp. 304–308 (April 2014)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bazzi, I., Schwartz, R., Makhoul, J.: An omnifont open-vocabulary ocr system for english and arabic. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 21(6), 495–504 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Google. Tesseract OCR (2006), (Online; accessed May 19, 2014)
  8. 8.
    Finnish National Library. Digitalkoot (2011), (Online; accessed May 19, 2014)
  9. 9.
    Märgner, V., El Abed, H.: Guide to OCR for Arabic Scripts. Springer-Verlag, London (2021)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    World Health Organization. Visual impairment and blindness (2013), (Online; accessed May 19, 2014)
  11. 11.
    Smith, R.: An overview of the tesseract ocr engine. In: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition, ICDAR 2007, vol. 02, pp. 629–633. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC (2007)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Smith, R., Antonova, D., Lee, D.-S.: Adapting the Tesseract Open Source OCR Engine for Multilingual OCR. In: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Multilingual OCR, MOCR 2009, pp. 1:1–1:8. ACM, New York (2009)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Von Ahn, L.: Human Computation. PhD thesis, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, AAI3205378 (2005)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    von Ahn, L., Dabbish, L.: Labeling images with a computer game. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2004, pp. 319–326. ACM, New York (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gasser Akila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohamed El-Menisy
    • 1
  • Omar Khaled
    • 1
  • Nada Sharaf
    • 1
  • Nada Tarhony
    • 1
  • Slim Abdennadher
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science and Engineering DepartmentThe German University in CairoCairoEgypt

Personalised recommendations