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Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) comes to PastView!

Written by Marshall Parr
August 15, 2023 at 9:56 AM


Enhance your digital collections with Handwritten Text Recognition

We are proud to be one of the first digital collection platforms to offer Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR)! 

Both Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) are now available on the PastView Platform, providing users with the ability to automatically recognise text within typed and handwritten documents. Utilising AI, our Text Recognition service can recognise typed text and a huge array of handwriting styles from historical documents, automatically adding this information as metadata to support enhanced searching of digitised collections.

Digitised collections including handwritten documents are a common material found within most archive collections. These could be handwritten journals, diaries, letters or even notes beneath photographs.

Handwritten text has historically required the use of manual transcription services to extract text, which remains the preferable method in cases where some data must be redacted for data protection purposes or for materials such as registers which require information to be retained in structured fields for data such as Name, Address and Date of Birth. Although manual transcription services currently remain the best service for certain material types, the introduction of Handwritten Text Recognition provides an exciting, cost-effective opportunity for many collections. 


Handwritten Text Recognition - Aiding your access & discovery

Handwritten Text Recognition systems have been available for a while now, however with PastView we've gone a step further! We have seamlessly built our new Text Recognition service within the PastView platform with the sole purpose of better promoting access and discovery to heritage archives. This is achieved in the following ways:



Credit: Institution of Mechanical Engineers 

Increased discoverability of your historical documents

Our Text Recognition service revolutionises the searching of your digital collections by making both typed and handwritten documents discoverable using PastView's advanced searching capabilities. Unlock the endless possibilities of recognising handwritten text within your digitised collections, including handwritten notes, personal diaries, and even text within photographs. All this valuable information can be stored as metadata and instantly accessed by your audiences, enhancing their search experience.

Full integration with page turning technology

Offering a smooth, elegant ‘real feel’ digital interaction that enhances the physical reading experience, BookExplorer’s 3D technology brings your content to life. BookExplorer has taken a significant leap forward with the exciting addition of Handwritten Text Recognition, aiding the searching of handwritten text within the BookExplorer and making even the most challenging historical texts accessible and understandable.


 Automatic transcription of entire collections

In the past, transcribing handwritten documents was a time-consuming task that often relied on experts to accurately record metadata. However, with PastView's Text Recognition service, this process becomes seamless during the import of your digital collections, simply selecting the materials you which to be automatically transcribed and then leaving the PastView platform to do the rest!


Find out more

Join us for our webinar on 14th September at 1pm (BST) where you’ll have the opportunity to hear directly from our PastView development team. Discover the exciting details about the Text Recognition service that is now available on PastView.

During this webinar, you will:

  • Learn more about the PastView platform
  • Find out more about our Text Recognition service
  • Discover the impressive capabilities of Handwritten Text Recognition
  • See Handwritten Text Recognition in action

Register below to join the webinar: