Evolving Hands

The Evolving Hands project looks at the use of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) to convert materials found in our cultural institutions and improves the workflows for conversion of these to TEI XML following the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative. Transcription has evolved dramatically in the twenty-first century. Historically this has been volunteer-driven to provide 'added-value'. However this results in a flat and undemocratic user experience - requiring a pre-existing understanding of the terms, subjects, people, places, and their spellings within the digitized collection.

This project undertakes 3 case studies ranging across document forms to demonstrate how these digital tools can be iteratively incorporated into curation. These range from: 19th-20th century handwritten letters and diaries from the UNESCO Gertrude Bell Archive, 16th century scribal hand in Spanish and Nahuatl, 18th century German, 20th century French correspondence, and a range of printed materials from the 19th century onward in English and French. A joint case study converts legacy printed material of the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project. By covering a wide variety of periods and document forms the project has a real opportunity here to foster responsible and responsive support for cultural institutions. This project seeks to establish more effective workflows that fill the gap between digitization, semanticoriented encoding, and data discoverability.

For more information see the 'About' page.