Five iConference2013 Talks

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Five iConference2013 Talk Abstracts

HERBIS/LABELX -- Machine Learning Approach to Parsing OCR Text

Bryan Heidorn
A central goal of the digitization of museum specimen labels is to parse the content of the labels into standard fields such as those identified in the Darwin Core (DwC). Museum specimen labels number in the billions and may be hundreds of years old or created recently. They have some minimal layout consistency within subsets of labels but overall have a very high layout variability. The text generated via OCR from these labels tends to have a high rate of errors. This combination makes it extremely difficult for programmers to write rule systems or other matching algorithms to classify the sub-elements of the labels into the DwC fields. Statistical methods such as Naive Bayes, Hidden Markov Models and N-Gramming can be combined with human supervision and authority files to successfully parse OCR output into proper fields and correct some OCR errors based on context.