4 February 2013 Combining multiple thresholding binarization values to improve OCR output
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Abstract
For noisy, historical documents, a high optical character recognition (OCR) word error rate (WER) can render the OCR text unusable. Since image binarization is often the method used to identify foreground pixels, a body of research seeks to improve image-wide binarization directly. Instead of relying on any one imperfect binarization technique, our method incorporates information from multiple simple thresholding binarizations of the same image to improve text output. Using a new corpus of 19th century newspaper grayscale images for which the text transcription is known, we observe WERs of 13.8% and higher using current binarization techniques and a state-of-the-art OCR engine. Our novel approach combines the OCR outputs from multiple thresholded images by aligning the text output and producing a lattice of word alternatives from which a lattice word error rate (LWER) is calculated. Our results show a LWER of 7.6% when aligning two threshold images and a LWER of 6.8% when aligning five. From the word lattice we commit to one hypothesis by applying the methods of Lund et al. (2011) achieving an improvement over the original OCR output and a 8.41% WER result on this data set.
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William B. Lund, William B. Lund, Douglas J. Kennard, Douglas J. Kennard, Eric K. Ringger, Eric K. Ringger, } "Combining multiple thresholding binarization values to improve OCR output", Proc. SPIE 8658, Document Recognition and Retrieval XX, 86580R (4 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2006228; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2006228
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