Jan Buts


2020

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A Tool for Facilitating OCR Postediting in Historical Documents
Alberto Poncelas | Mohammad Aboomar | Jan Buts | James Hadley | Andy Way
Proceedings of LT4HALA 2020 - 1st Workshop on Language Technologies for Historical and Ancient Languages

Optical character recognition (OCR) for historical documents is a complex procedure subject to a unique set of material issues, including inconsistencies in typefaces and low quality scanning. Consequently, even the most sophisticated OCR engines produce errors. This paper reports on a tool built for postediting the output of Tesseract, more specifically for correcting common errors in digitized historical documents. The proposed tool suggests alternatives for word forms not found in a specified vocabulary. The assumed error is replaced by a presumably correct alternative in the post-edition based on the scores of a Language Model (LM). The tool is tested on a chapter of the book An Essay Towards Regulating the Trade and Employing the Poor of this Kingdom (Cary, 1719). As demonstrated below, the tool is successful in correcting a number of common errors. If sometimes unreliable, it is also transparent and subject to human intervention.