[Humanist] 26.495 old mss like born-digital text

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Nov 17 10:38:21 CET 2012


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 495.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 16:36:49 -0600
        From: Laura Mandell <laura.mandell at gmail.com>
        Subject: FW: News Distribution: ProQuest participates in project to make old manuscripts behave like born-digital text
        In-Reply-To: <24082900FD8BBB4F8A3E5CF2890E761E01740622ED at AAPQMAILBX02V.proque.st>


ProQuest is participating in a project at Texas A&M that will significantly
advance research of the early modern era. In a nutshell, a collective of
publishers and software companies are supporting the efforts of scholars
and librarians to train OCR technology to read the peculiar fonts of the
14th through 17th centuries. When they're done, researchers will be able to
conduct key word searches of 600-year-old manuscripts, making them as easy
to work with as born digital content. Fascinating! Read on to learn more --
here http://www.proquest.com/en-US/aboutus/pressroom/12/20121106.shtml or
below...



ProQuest Joins Forces with TAMU Scholars to Make 15th Century Books Behave
Like Born-Digital Text 

Collaborative project will train OCR technology to read early modern
fonts

November 6, 2012 (ANN ARBOR Mich.) -- 

Information powerhouse ProQuest http://www.proquest.com/ is participating in
a project that will vastly accelerate research of 15 th through 17th Century
cultural history. The company will provide access to page images from the
veritable Early English Books Online and newcomer Early European Books
to the Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP http://emop.tamu.edu/ ) at Texas A&M.
EMOP will use the content to create a database of typefaces used in the
early modern era, train OCR software to read them and then apply
crowd-sourcing for editing. The project will turn the rich corpus of works
from this pivotal historical period into fully searchable digital documents.

“Digitization of the historical archives of the early modern era made this
literature far more accessible. Page images provide scholars with
unprecedented access to books that previously could have only been viewed in
their source library. However, precision search -- the ability to use
technology to zero in on very specific text -- has been hampered by the fact
that OCR technology can’t read the peculiarities of early printing,”
said Mary Sauer-Games, ProQuest vice-president, publishing. “We’re
thrilled to participate in an effort that we feel will drive new levels of
historical discovery. We love the application of modern ingenuity to turn
these very old archives into works that are as searchable as text that was
born digital.” 

ProQuest has played a key worldwide role in preservation and access to early
modern history, ensuring the survival of printed works from as early as
1450. In the 1930s, the company became a pioneer of microfiche, when it
filmed the contents of the vast archives of the British Library and other
major libraries across England – virtually every English language book
printed in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The microfilm collection,
ProQuest’s flagship Early English Books, opened these works to global
study and created an avenue for preservation. It has since become the
quintessential collection for study of the early modern era. 

In the 1990s, ProQuest began a massive effort to capture the collection
digitally. Early English Books Online enables scholars to manage, share
and collaborate on their research virtually. The company even created a
social network that allows the scholars who use the collection as a base for
their research to connect with each other. 


Then, early in the 21st century, ProQuest expanded the program to include
major European libraries, launching Early European Books with the Danish
Royal Library in Copenhagen and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze
in Italy. Digitization projects are also underway with the U.K.’s famed
scientific and medical library -- The Wellcome – and the National Library
of the Netherlands. 


eMop is led by Texas A&M Professors Laura Mandell, Director of the
Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC), Ricardo
Gutierrez-Osuna of Computer Science, and Richard Furuta, Director of the
Center for the Study of Digital Libraries (CSDL), along with  Anton
DuPlessis and Todd Samuelson, book historians from Cushing Rare Books
Library. The scholars earned a two-year, $734,000 development grant from the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the work. ProQuest is one of a
variety of participating publishers and software organizations that are
collaborating on the project. 


To learn more about eMOP visit http://emop.tamu.edu. For more information
about ProQuest’s role in access to and preservation of the world’s
knowledge, visit www.proquest.com. 


About ProQuest (www.proquest.com)

ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information.  Key to serious
research, the company has forged a 70-year reputation as a gateway to the
world’s knowledge – from dissertations to governmental and cultural
archives to news, in all its forms.  Its role is essential to libraries and
other organizations whose missions depend on the management and delivery of
complete, trustworthy information.

ProQuest’s massive information pool is made accessible in research
environments that accelerate productivity, empowering users to discover,
create, and share knowledge.

An energetic, fast-growing organization, ProQuest includes the ProQuest®,
Bowker®, Dialog®, ebrary®, and Serials Solutions® businesses and notable
research tools such as the RefWorks® and Pivot™ services, as well as
its’ Summon® web-scale discovery service.  The company is headquartered
in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices around the world. 

--30--

Beth Dempsey, for ProQuest
+1 248 349-7810 office
+1 248 915-8160 mobile
beth.dempsey at proquest.com

 

 

--Laura Mandell
Director, Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture
Professor, English
Texas A&M University
p: 979-845-8345
e: mandell at tamu.edu
@mandellc
http://idhmc.tamu.edu





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