Despite decades of research, offline handwriting recognition (HWR) of historical documents remains a challenging problem, which if solved could greatly improve the searchability of online cultural heritage archives. Historical documents are plagued with noise, degradation, ink bleed-through, overlapping strokes, variation in slope and slant of the writing, and inconsistent layouts. Often the documents in a collection have been written by thousands of authors, all of whom have significantly different writing styles. In order to better capture the variations in writing styles we introduce a novel data augmentation technique. This methods achieves state-of-the-art results on modern datasets written in English and French and a historical dataset written in German.HWR models are often limited by the accuracy of the preceding steps of text detection and segmentation.Motivated by this, we present a deep learning model that jointly learns text detection, segmentation, and recognition using mostly images without detection or segmentation annotations.Our Start, Follow, Read (SFR) model is composed of a Region Proposal Network to find the start position of handwriting lines, a novel line follower network that incrementally follows and preprocesses lines of (perhaps curved) handwriting into dewarped images, and a CNN-LSTM network to read the characters. SFR exceeds the performance of the winner of the ICDAR2017 handwriting recognition competition, even when not using the provided competition region annotations.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Computer Science
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wigington, Curtis Michael, "End-to-End Full-Page Handwriting Recognition" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 7099.
Handwriting Recognition, Document Analysis, Historical Document Processing, Text Detection, Text Line Segmentation, Data Augmentation.