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Word matching using single closed contours for indexing handwritten historical documents

Adamek, Tomasz and O'Connor, Noel E. and Murphy, Noel and Smeaton, Alan F. (2007) Word matching using single closed contours for indexing handwritten historical documents. International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition, 9 (2-4). pp. 153-165. ISSN 1433-2825

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Effective indexing is crucial for providing convenient access to scanned versions of large collections of historically valuable handwritten manuscripts. Since traditional handwriting recognizers based on optical character recognition (OCR) do not perform well on historical documents, recently a holistic word recognition approach has gained in popularity as an attractive and more straightforward solution (Lavrenko et al. in proc. document Image Analysis for Libraries (DIAL’04), pp. 278–287, 2004). Such techniques attempt to recognize words based on scalar and profile-based features extracted from whole word images. In this paper, we propose a new approach to holistic word recognition for historical handwritten manuscripts based on matching word contours instead of whole images or word profiles. The new method consists of robust extraction of closed word contours and the application of an elastic contour matching technique proposed originally for general shapes (Adamek and O’Connor in IEEE Trans Circuits Syst Video Technol 5:2004). We demonstrate that multiscale contour-based descriptors can effectively capture intrinsic word features avoiding any segmentation of words into smaller subunits. Our experiments show a recognition accuracy of 83%, which considerably exceeds the performance of other systems reported in the literature.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Additional Information:The original publication is available at
Uncontrolled Keywords:Historical manuscripts; Holistic word recognition; Contour matching; Annotation; Indexing;
Subjects:Computer Science > Information retrieval
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > Centre for Digital Video Processing (CDVP)
Publisher:Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
Official URL:
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:450
Deposited On:21 May 2008 by DORAS Administrator. Last Modified 16 Feb 2009 13:50

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