+ Searching Handwritten Manuscripts at Greifswald University Library

One of the oldest University libraries in Germany is working with some of the newest technology!  Greifswald University Library and Archives have been in cooperation with the Transkribus team since September 2015 and now have some exciting results to share.

Around 800 pages of documents and transcripts from the University Archives have been uploaded to Transkribus.  These documents were a collection of minutes from meetings of the Konzil, the central administrative body of Greifswald University.  These pages were written by three professional writers in Kurrent script, between the years 1775 and 1840.  The Transkribus team used these documents to generate a Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) model capable of automatically reading documents in the Konzil collection.

Greifswald University Library has been able to integrate the HTR technology from Transkribus directly into its digital library system (Digitale Bibliothek Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).  This innovation was realised using the Open Source Goobi software provided by Intranda.  Library users are now able to conduct keyword searches in a sample of handwritten material from the Konzil collection.  You can see the full-text search in action in this example query, where the system has searched for the word ‘Greifswald’.  Why not try searching for yourself?

This is a first for the READ project and an important milestone in our mission to disseminate HTR technology.  We are grateful to Greifswald University Library and Archives for showing that it is possible to provide HTR technology directly to users in order to facilitate research.  Over the next few weeks, Greifswald University Library will be importing 100 more volumes from the Konzil collection into Transkribus to allow for more comprehensive searching of the collection.

A reminder that a full-text search function is also now available in the latest version of the Transkribus platform.  Once you have trained a HTR model for your manuscript collection, you will be able to conduct a full-text search of your documents.

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