17.642 Oxford CL Group, ubi sunt? OCR for beginners?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty ) (willard@mccarty.me.uk)
Date: Fri Feb 13 2004 - 02:29:21 EST

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 642.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

   [1] From: "Stella Di Fazio" <stella@maas.ccr.it> (5)
         Subject: Oxford Computational Linguistics Group website

   [2] From: Willard McCarty <willard@mccarty.me.uk> (29)
         Subject: OCR FAQ

         Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 06:49:36 +0000
         From: "Stella Di Fazio" <stella@maas.ccr.it>
         Subject: Oxford Computational Linguistics Group website

Does anyone know what happened to the Oxford Computational Linguistics
Group' web site?
The URL I visited months ago ( http://www.clg.ox.ac.uk/) seems to be no more

Thanks in advance


         Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 07:21:04 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard@mccarty.me.uk>
         Subject: OCR FAQ

A member of Humanist has written to me privately with a question he's
embarrassed to ask of such experts as we all are :-) -- namely, for the
beginner, what is the best option for adding OCR capabilities? This
question, or one very much like it, surfaces here from time to time, but
since the technology is quite imperfect and developing all the time, it's a
good question to be asking. So, if you will, please recommend both hardware
and software.

My own and quite strong recommendation is for the C-Pen
(http://www.cpen.com/), a handheld device that works brilliantly for
scanning relatively small amounts of printed text. I have the 600C model,
which I have been using for well over a year. Typically what I do is to
scan in passages from books I am reading and taking notes from, then beam
the results to my handheld device (Sony Clie) or laptop (Thinkpad X31) for
inclusion into a notes file. I use it in the libraries I visit and,
significantly, at home in preference to a desktop scanner with OCR
software. It is in fact faster and more convenient than the desktop
arrangement, cheaper to purchase as well, though it doesn't do images. The
OCR error rate is acceptable, sometimes 0%, but I would guess more like
1-2% on average. In any case, errors don't matter that much for notes and
are easy to correct in any case. It has, in its own minor way, *changed my
life*, or at least my note-taking habits.

I would in fact challenge the actual utility of the more extensive and
expensive option except for rather major text-scanning operations.

Comments and other recommendations, please.


Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
7848-2784 fax: -2980 || willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk

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