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AI-powered handwriting recognition

Historisches Blatt mit handschriftlichen Aufzeichnungen aus dem Blandowski-Bestand der HBSB, Signatur: ZM BVIII, Bl. 293.

The Museum für Naturkunde has joined the Read COOP SCE, which distributes and further develops the Transkribus platform.

Transkribus offers a comprehensive solution for the management, layout analysis, transcription, AI-powered text recognition and annotation of handwritten documents such as labels or archival records and is currently one of the leading tools among cultural institutions for the indexing of digitized text sources, especially those in old script (Kurrent/Sütterlin). More than 100 renowned European research institutions have already joined the cooperative and are jointly shaping the process of AI-powered handwriting recognition. 

At the museum, several projects are working on the transcription and indexing of written materials from the Historical Workspace and from the museum's collection using participatory approaches, in particular the Transcription Workshop with a course offering for beginners and advanced students, as well as various projects for the transcription and annotation of labels and inventories as part of the Collection Indexing and Development project. These projects are essential not only for the digital indexing of the museum's collection, but also for research, since much of the data on the museum's objects is only available in handwritten form in the form of labels or other documents. With the Transkribus tool, numerous cataloguing and research projects at the MfN can work and transcribe and index documents much more effectively than before.

Transkribus is developed and maintained by the READ-COOP SCE. Transcripts can be exported in many standard data formats, allowing easy further use on publication platforms and in databases. In addition, the tool can be accessed via a programming interface. For transcribers - employees of the MfN as well as volunteers – there is an easy-to-use, web-based interface with Transkribus LITE, advanced users can use the Expert Client with numerous additional functions.

Picture: Historical page with handwritten notes from the Blandowski collection of the HBSB, Signature: ZM BVIII, p. 293.