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Improving Access to Text

Principal researcher

Name: MATHOT, MARIE JOSE

Contact details: KONINKLIJKE BIBLIOTHEEK, PRINS WILLEM ALEXANDERHOF 5 PO Box 90407, 2595 BE DEN HAAG, NETHERLANDS
Tel: +31-70-3140455
Fax: +31-70-3140651

Website: www.impact-project.eu

Project details

Start date: 01/2008
End date: 12/2011

Description: Text that is not digital is virtually invisible. Today's readers search the internet for electronically accessible texts rather than visit the reading room of a library. Born-digital and digitised contemporary materials contain the richness that allows tools such as text mining and the semantic web to offer superior accessibility but the story is very different for historic documents. A vital part of the European heritage, encompassing more than four centuries of historic books and bound periodicals is becoming less and less visible to the public at large.

With the i2010 vision of a European Digital Library, the EU has launched an ambitious plan for large scale digitisation projects transforming Europe's printed heritage into digitally available resources. However, lack of institutional knowledge and expertise slows down the pace with which this vision can be realised. The state-of-the-art in OCR performance and machine understanding of the original document is inadequate, especially for historically important material with archaic fonts and spellings, newspapers with complex layouts, bound volumes, microfilm or typescript.

The IMPACT project will remove many of these barriers. It brings together fifteen national and regional libraries, research institutions and commercial suppliers - all centres of competence with unequalled experience of large-scale text digitisation processes and technologies. The project will let them share their know-how and best practices, develop innovative tools to enhance the capabilities of OCR engines and the accessibility of digitised text and lay down the foundations for the mass-digitisation programmes that will take place over the next decade. This project will facilitate a more collaborative approach to mass-digitisation. It will build capacity and lower the barriers to entry for organisations in the early stages of their own digitisation activity.

Other organisations involved in this project

ABBYY PRODUCTION LLC
BAYERISCHE STAATSBIBLIOTHEK
STICHTING INSTITUUT VOOR NEDERLANDSE LEXICOLOGIE
THE BRITISH LIBRARY
UNIVERSITAET INNSBRUCK
DIE DEUTSCHE NATIONAL BIBLIOTHEK
BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE
NATIONAL CENTRE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH DEMOKRITOS
GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITAET GOETTINGEN STIFTUNG OEFFENTLICHEN RECHTS
OESTERREICHISCHE NATIONALBIBLIOTHEK
IBM ISRAEL - SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY LTD
UNIVERSITY OF BATH
LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD

Last updated: 26/04/2010