Making Large Collections of Handwritten Material Easily Accessible and Searchable

  • Anders HastEmail author
  • Per Cullhed
  • Ekta Vats
  • Matteo Abrate
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 988)


Libraries and cultural organisations contain a rich amount of digitised historical handwritten material in the form of scanned images. A vast majority of this material has not been transcribed yet, owing to technological challenges and lack of expertise. This renders the task of making these historical collections available for public access challenging, especially in performing a simple text search across the collection. Machine learning based methods for handwritten text recognition are gaining importance these days, which require huge amount of pre-transcribed texts for training the system. However, it is impractical to have access to several thousands of pre-transcribed documents due to adversities transcribers face. Therefore, this paper presents a training-free word spotting algorithm as an alternative for handwritten text transcription, where case studies on Alvin (Swedish repository) and Clavius on the Web are presented. The main focus of this work is on discussing prospects of making materials in the Alvin platform and Clavius on the Web easily searchable using a word spotting based handwritten text recognition system.


Transcription Handwritten text recognition Word spotting Alvin Clavius on the Web 



This work was supported by the Swedish strategic research programme eSSENCE and the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Dnr NHS14-2068:1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Hast
    • 1
    Email author
  • Per Cullhed
    • 2
  • Ekta Vats
    • 1
  • Matteo Abrate
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Information TechnologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.University LibraryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Institute of Informatics and Telematics, CNRPisaItaly

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