METAe - Meta Data ENGINE

  • The METAe project was a research and development project co-funded by the European Commission (5th Framework, IST Programme, Area “Digital Heritage and Cultural Content”).
  • The project ran from September 2000 to September 2003 and comprised 14 partners from seven European countries and the US.

Partners in the METAe project were:

  • University of Innsbruck (Austria), Project coordinated
  • University of Flo­rence (Italy)
  • Bibliotéque Nationale de France,
  • Nation­al Library of Norway,
  • Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (Germany),
  • CCS Compact Computer Systeme (Germany),
  • Cornell Library University (USA)
  • ABBYY ;-)

METAe is/was a consortium of libraries and digitisation companies from across Europe who are working together to create the METAe Engine, a software package specifically designed for organising the work flow of the archiving and conversion of historical materials such as books, journals, magazines and news- papers.

Further Information about METAe: http://meta-e.aib.uni-linz.ac.at/index.html

ABBYY's role in METAe

Development OCR of blackletter fonts ("Fraktur")

A sub-type of the gothic letters, the so-called “Fraktur” (black letter) has been widely used from the 18th to the middle of the 20th century in many European countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Czech, Estonia or Lithuania. In the case of German language texts Fraktur has been used until 1941 in around 80 % of printed documents.

It is a matter of fact that a big number of readers are nowadays no more able to easily read texts which are set in Fraktur. It has therefore been of high importance to develop an omni-font OCR which is able to read Fraktur without any training. In addition to special classifiers the quality of OCR results is strongly dependent on the dictionaries used in the background. A good dictionary, and not only a list of words, increases the recognition rate significantly.

Five historical dictionaries, reflecting

  • The historical state of orthography in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish have therefore been developed.
  • These dictionaries contain between 50.000 and 100.000 historical word stems and shall cover more than 90% of the words found in historical texts.

ABBYY FineReader XIX was developed with the needs of universities and research center in mind. The product was developed through a cooperation with the worldwide METAe Project.

A SDK (software development kit) including the Fraktur classifiers and the historical dictionaries is available as commercial product.

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