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Large scale continuous dating of medieval scribes using a combined image and language model
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Division of Visual Information and Interaction.
Univ Gavle, Dept Business Studies, Gavle, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Division of Visual Information and Interaction. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computerized Image Analysis and Human-Computer Interaction.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Finding the production date of a pre-modern manuscript is commonly a long process in historical research, requiring days of work from highly specialised experts. In this paper, we present an automatic dating method based on modelling both the language and the image data. By creating a statistical model over the changes in the pen strokes and short character sequences in the transcribed text, a combination of multiple estimators give a distribution over the time line for each manuscript. We have evaluated our estimation scheme on the medieval charter collection "Svenskt Diplomatariums huvudkartotek" (SDHK), including more than 5300 transcribed charters from the period 1135 - 1509. Our system is capable of achieving a median absolute error of 12 years, where the only human input is a transcription of the charter text. Since reading and transcribing the text is a skill that many researchers and students have, compared to the more specialized skill of dating medieval manuscripts based on palaeographical expertise, we find our novel approach suitable for helping individual researchers to date collections of manuscript pages. For larger collections, transcriptions could also be collected using crowd sourcing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems)
Research subject
Computerized Image Processing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294882DOI: 10.1109/DAS.2016.71ISI: 000390411200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294882DiVA: diva2:931657
Conference
12th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems (DAS), APR 11-14, 2016, Greece
Projects
q2bq2b_vr2012
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2012-5743
Available from: 2016-05-30 Created: 2016-05-30 Last updated: 2017-02-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Interpreting the Script: Image Analysis and Machine Learning for Quantitative Studies of Pre-modern Manuscripts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interpreting the Script: Image Analysis and Machine Learning for Quantitative Studies of Pre-modern Manuscripts
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The humanities have for a long time been a collection of fields that have not gained from the advancements in computational power, as predicted by Moore´s law.  Fields like medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, geology and economics have all developed quantitative tools that take advantage of the exponential increase of processing power over time.  Recent advances in computerized pattern recognition, in combination with a rapid digitization of historical document collections around the world, is about to change this.

The first part of this dissertation focuses on constructing a full system for finding handwritten words in historical manuscripts. A novel segmentation algorithm is presented, capable of finding and separating text lines in pre-modern manuscripts.  Text recognition is performed by translating the image data of the text lines into sequences of numbers, called features. Commonly used features are analysed and evaluated on manuscript sources from the Uppsala University library Carolina Rediviva and the US Library of Congress.  Decoding the text in the vast number of photographed manuscripts from our libraries makes computational linguistics and social network analysis directly applicable to historical sources. Hence, text recognition is considered a key technology for the future of computerized research methods in the humanities.

The second part of this thesis addresses digital palaeography, using a computers superior capacity for endlessly performing measurements on ink stroke shapes. Objective criteria of character shapes only partly catches what a palaeographer use for assessing similarity. The palaeographer often gets a feel for the scribe's style.  This is, however, hard to quantify.  A method for identifying the scribal hands of a pre-modern copy of the revelations of saint Bridget of Sweden, using semi-supervised learning, is presented.  Methods for production year estimation are presented and evaluated on a collection with close to 11000 medieval charters.  The production dates are estimated using a Gaussian process, where the uncertainty is inferred together with the most likely production year.

In summary, this dissertation presents several novel methods related to image analysis and machine learning. In combination with recent advances of the field, they enable efficient computational analysis of very large collections of historical documents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. 95 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1475
Keyword
document analysis, machine learning, image analysis, digital humanities, document dating, writer identification, text recognition
National Category
Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems)
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-314211 (URN)978-91-554-9814-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-03-24, Tidskriftläsesalen, Carolina rediviva, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 1, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
q2b
Available from: 2017-03-02 Created: 2017-01-31 Last updated: 2017-03-06

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