OCRing Shakespeare Entry from Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition

August 14, 2007 in Technical, Texts

One of next things we want to do for open shakespeare is provide an open introduction for to his works. The obvious idea for this was to use the Shakespeare entry in the 11th ed of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as detailed in this ticket:

http://p.knowledgeforge.net/shakespeare/trac/ticket/24

We’ve now written code to grab the relevant tiffs off wikimedia:

http://p.knowledgeforge.net/shakespeare/svn/trunk/src/shakespeare/src/eb.py

You can also find them online (28 pages) starting at:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/scans/EB1911_tiff/VOL24%20SAINTE-CLAIRE%20DEVILLE-SHUTTLE/ED4A800.TIF

Next step is to then OCR this stuff (after that we can move on to proofing whether by ourselves or via http://pgdp.net). When we first had a stab at this back in April we tried using gocr. Unfortunately the results were so bad that they were unusable. Recently an old ocr engine of HP’s has been released as open source under the name of tesseract:

http://code.google.com/p/tesseract-ocr/

We’re going to have a go using this — though if there is anyone out there with access to an alternative system we’d love to hear about it.

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