The first Transkribus User Conference was an interesting, inspiring and thought-provoking few days. Around 80 users, mostly (although not all!) from Europe met in Vienna to hear about the latest research in automated text recognition and discuss their experience of and hopes for the Transkribus platform. Our hosts, the Computer Vision Lab at the Technical University Vienna provided a venue with terrific views of the city skyline in the autumn sun. Slides of the conference presentations can be found on the conference webpage, videos are coming soon!
We heard about the most recent developments in research conducted by partners in the READ project including improved tools for segmenting documents into lines, powerful mechanisms for keyword searching huge digitized collections and a new Text2Image matching tool that will allow users to use existing transcriptions as training data for text recognition.
Hearing from our users was also really important for us. The conference included 11 presentations from users from different archives, universities and research groups who talked about how they had been working with Transkribus on various kinds of documents and projects, from transcription and scholarly editing, to the recognition of non-Western scripts and printed texts. This was a fantastic insight into the power of Transkribus, which we hope will inspire potential users who may be interested in exploring our platform.
We taught new users the basics of Transkribus in a workshop, organised an interactive feedback session where people could give their opinion on our tools and ask questions about automated processing and provided lots of opportunity for networking and discussion. The conference dinner was also the occasion for our ‘Transkribus tombola’ where the winner received a ScanTent device for digitising historical documents using a mobile phone!
The conference was an impressive collaboration between developers, computer scientists, humanities scholars and archivists and resulted in fruitful discussion about the best means of using digital tools to process text. We will be continuing the conversation with our users and we look forward to announcing the next Transkribus User Conference in the coming months!