Feeds

Google to get a handle on handwriting

Manuscripts set to be searchable

The next step in data security

Google is funding research aimed at making handwritten documents searchable. The Dublin City University project is a rare external collaboration for Google, which in the past has preferred to simply buy in the expertise it needs.

Computer scientists are adapting technology originally developed to recognise objects like cars and people in video. Team leader Professor Alan Smeaton told The Register: “We stumbled upon the idea of using the algorithms for handwriting.”

When the system is given an example of a word in someone's handwriting, it can then search through documents written by that person and find other instances, adapting to variation in style. The approach has already been successfully tested on George Washington's personal diaries – every appearance of the word "battle" can be quickly accessed, for example.

The researchers say before now this kind of material has only been accessible in digital libraries one page at a time, which is slow and cumbersome, or is kept behind closed doors.

Google has provided enough funding for the team at Dublin, and its partners at the Universities of Buffalo and Massachusetts to work on the problem for at least a year. It's hoped the tools the group develop will become a key part of Google's stated aim of digitising the world's libraries.

Professor Smeaton said: “This will make historical manuscripts searchable for scholars and others in a way that has never been possible before.”®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.