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Amsterdam city archives makes ancient texts ‘readable’ for an audience

The Amsterdam city Archives wants to centuries-old handwritten documents accessible to a large audience.

In the project Crowd Teaches Computer to Read, volunteers to the optical character recognition of ancient manuscripts. Ultimately, everyone, every word in these documents may be read.

A large part of the 50 kilometres of historical documents of the archive is handwritten. The number of researchers that can be read is limited. Therefore, there is actually barely any access to the information in seventeenth – and eighteenth-century Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam city Archives has the handschriftherkenningstechnologie of the platform Transkribus linked to the crowdsourcingplatform VeleHanden. Because of this, have hundreds of people at the same time the possibility to train the computer and to correct.

According to the setting is the strength of this combination is unprecedented and is already seeing results. So the computer reads the texts of the seventeenth-century notary Hendrik Schaef for 95 percent error free.

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