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+ Medievalists! Share data with our working group to improve Handwritten Text Recognition

With thousands of Transkribus users working all over the world, there is huge potential for collaborative work on the automated recognition of historical documents.

Dr Tobias Hodel (State Archives of Zurich, University of Zurich) has set up the ‘Gothic Hands’ working group with this mind, hoping to improve recognition of medieval Gothic script. The ‘Comb_Gothic_Bookwriting’ model has been trained on different sets of medieval scripts and is already available to all Transkribus users. In the best cases, it can produce automated transcripts with a Character Error Rate of less than 10%.

We are looking for more users to join this working group and share images and transcripts of Gothic scripts written between the 11th and 15th century. The current model has been trained primarily on German language material, so we are especially keen to receive documents written in Latin.  

The latest contributor to the working group is Digital Statius: The Achilleid, a project which is producing a digital edition of Achilleid, an unfinished epic poem written in Latin, in which the poet Statius (later 1st c. AD), narrates the childhood of Achilles and the stay of the hero on the island of Scyros. This text was part of the school curriculum in the Middle Ages, before losing its status as a classic. The project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and based at the University of Geneva, aims to produce a new critical edition of the Achilleid, fully and exclusively digital, which takes into account the complete manuscript tradition of the poem (224 manuscripts, c. 8000 images). The open access digital critical edition will include a new text, a full interactive apparatus criticus, comparative visualization of numerous readings, comments, translations, links to other tools and/or platforms, and the images of the largest possible number of manuscripts.

If you work with Gothic script, you can join the team behind the Achilleid edition and many others by becoming part of the ‘Gothic Hands’ working group.

To participate in the group, you can:

  • share existing training data that you have already prepared in Transkribus
  • prepare new images and transcripts in Transkribus in the ‘Gothic Hands’ collection
  • send over files containing images and transcripts which can be matched automatically and converted into training data

Please contact Tobias Hodel (tobias.hodel@hist.uzh.ch) with any questions about the group.

Working together gives us a great chance to transcribe and search medieval documents more efficiently!

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