Feeds

Google to get a handle on handwriting

Manuscripts set to be searchable

Boost IT visibility and business value

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.”®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.