OCR and Crowdsourcing

by | Published on Dec 20, 2013 | Transcription Services

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Successful data entry and transcription would not be possible if there were not smart tools to ensure accuracy and precision since the data is converted from hard copies to soft ones which are easier to process for further use.

Indispensability of OCR

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the key ingredient of such software tools. It helps interpret scanned images of text including handwritten content. The document is scanned, and the handwritten or printed text is interpreted and converted to a version that allows it to be edited on a computer. The letters and characters within the handwritten document are understood by the software and converted to digital text.

OCR works through elements such as artificial intelligence, machine vision and pattern identification to make out the word units, spaces between words, etc to develop a semantic understanding of the text. Feature extraction and matrix matching are the systems used for efficient OCR.

Human Effort Needed When OCR Fails

In many cases, some OCR software tools are not able to effectively transcribe handwriting. Human effort is needed here. Cultural organizations often rely on volunteersto take care of these crucial tasks. Transcription is one of the common crowdsourced tasks in the cultural heritage field. Volunteers convert diaries, log books, letters, and so on into readable formats that can be searched, mined, and be employed for improving collection metadata. Investigative journalism and genealogy are some of the other areas where crowdsourcing is sought for data transcription.

The limitations of some OCR software can be felt by organizations dealing solely with handwritten content such as legal and cultural organizations. The technology of OCR has come a long way, but it still is a developmental process.

It is therefore vital for organizations to employ the most advanced OCR software tools or hand over their data entry and transcription tasks to a professional transcription company that can handle complex OCR requirements. Leading legal transcription companies use crowdsourcing to provide fast and accurate audio and video transcripts for legal entities.

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