Recognition and Retrieval from Document Image Collections

Million Meshesha

The present growth of digitization of books and manuscripts demands an immediate solution to access them electronically. This will enable the archived valuable materials to be searchable and usable by users in order to achieve their objectives. This requires research in the area of document image understanding, specifically in the area of document image recognition as well as document image retrieval. In the last three decades significant advancement is made in the recognition of documents written in Latin-based and some Oriental scripts. There are many excellent attempts in building robust document analysis systems in industry, academia and research labs. Intelligent recognition systems are commercially available for use for certain scripts. However, there is only limited research effort for the recognition of indigenous scripts of African and Indian languages. In addition, diversity of archived printed documents poses many challenges to document analysis and understanding. Hence in this work, we explore novel approaches for understanding and accessing the content of document image collections that vary in quality and printing.

In Africa around 2,500 languages are spoken. Some of these languages have their own indigenous scripts in which there is a bulk of printed documents available in the various institutions. Digitization of these documents enables us to harness already available language technologies to local information needs and developments. We present an OCR for converting digitized documents in Amharic language.Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia. Extensive literature survey reveals that this is the first attempt that reports the challenges toward the recognition of indigenous African scripts and a possible solution for Amharic script. Research in the recognition of Amharic script faces major challenges due to (i) the use of large number of characters in the writing and (ii) the existence of large set of visually similar characters. Here we extract a set of optimal discriminant features to train the classifier. Recognition results are presented on real-life degraded documents such as books, magazines and newspapers to demonstrate the performance of the recognizer.

The present OCRs are typically designed to work on a single page at a time. We argue that the recognition scheme for a collection (like a book) could be considerably different from that designed for isolated pages. The motivation here is therefore to exploit the entire available information (during the recognition process), which is not effectively used earlier for enhancing the performance of the recognizer. To this end, we propose %an architecture and learning algorithms of a self adaptable OCR framework for the recognition of document image collections. This approach enables the recognizer to learn incrementally and adapt to document image collections for performance improvement. We employ learning procedures to capture the relevant information available online, and feed it back to update the knowledge of the system. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our design for improving the performance of the recognizer on-the-fly, thereby adapting to a specific collection.

For indigenous scripts of African and Indian languages there is no robust OCR available. Designing such a system is also a long-term process for accessing the archived document images. Hence we explore the application of word spotting approach for retrieval of printed document images without explicit recognition. To this end, we propose an effective word image matching scheme that achieves high performance in presence of script variability, printing variations, degradations and word-form variations. A novel partial matching algorithm is designed for morphological matching of word form variants in a language. We employ a feature extraction scheme that extracts local features by scanning vertical strips of the word image. These features are then combined based on their discriminatory potential. We present detailed experimental results of the proposed approach on English, Amharic and Hindi documents.

Searching and retrieval from document image collections is challenging because of the scalability issues and computational time. We design an efficient indexing scheme to speed up searching for relevant document images. We identify the word set by clustering them into different groups based on their similarities. Each of these clusters are equivalent to a variation in printing, morphology, and quality. This is achieved by mapping IR principles (that are widely used in text processing) for relevance ranking. Once we cluster list of index terms that define the content of the document, they are indexed using inverted data structure. This data structure also provides scope for incremental clustering in a dynamic environment. The indexing scheme enables effective search and retrieval in image-domain that is comparable with text search engines. We demonstrate the application of the indexing process with the help of experimental results.

The proliferation of document images at large scale demands a solution that is effective to access document images at collection level. In this work, we investigate machine learning and information retrieval approaches that suits this demand. Machine learning schemes are effectively used to redesign existing approach to OCR development. The recognizer is enabled to learn from its experience and improve its performance over time on document image collections. Information retrieval (IR) principles are mapped to construct an indexing scheme for efficient content-based search and retrieval from document image collections. Existing matching scheme is redesigned to undertake morphological matching in the image domain. Performance evaluation using datasets from different languages shows the effectiveness of our approaches. Extension works are recommended that need further consideration in the future to further the state-of-the-art in document image recognition and document image retrieval.


Year of completion:  2008
 Advisor : Prof. C.V. Jawahar

Related Publications

  • C. V. Jawahar, A. Balasubramanian, Million Meshesha and Anoop M. Namboodiri - Retrieval of Online Handwriting by Synthesis and Matching Proceeding of the International Journal on Pattern Recognition, 42(7), 1445-1457, 2009. [PDF]

  • Million Meshesha and C. V. Jawahar - Matching word image for content-based retrieval from printed document images Proceeding of the International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition, IJDAR 11(1), 29-38, 2008. [PDF]

  • Million Meshesha and C.V. Jawahar - Self Adaptable Recognizer for Document Image Collections Proceeding of the Second International Conference on Pattern Recognition Machine Learning (PReMI'2007), pp. 560-567, 18-22 Dec, 2007, Kolkata. [PDF]

  • Million Meshesha and C. V. Jawahar - Indigenous Scripts of African Languaes Proceeding of the African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Vol. 6, Issue 2, pp. 132-142, 2007. [PDF]

  • Million Meshesha and C. V. Jawahar - Optical Character Recognition of Amharic Documents Proceeding of the Africal Journal of Information and Communcation Technology ISSN 1449-2679, Volume 3, Number 3, December 2007. [PDF]

  • Pramod Sankar K., Million Meshesha and C. V. Jawahar - Annotation of Images and videos based on Textual Content without OCR, Workshop on Computation Intensive Methods for Computer Vision(in conjuction with ECCV 2006), 2006. [PDF]

  • A. Balasubramanian, Million Meshesha and C. V. Jawahar - Retrieval from Document Image Collections, Proceedings of Seventh IAPR Workshop on Document Analysis Systems, 2006 (LNCS 3872), pp 1-12. [PDF]

  • Sachin Rawat, K. S. Sesh Kumar, Million Meshesha, Indineel Deb Sikdar, A. Balasubramanian and C. V. Jawahar - A Semi-Automatic Adaptive OCR for Digital Libraries, Proceedings of Seventh IAPR Workshop on Document Analysis Systems, 2006 (LNCS 3872), pp 13-24. [PDF]

  • Million Meshesha and C. V. Jawahar  - Recognition of Printed Amharic Documents, Proceedings of Eighth International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition(ICDAR), Seoul, Korea 2005, Vol 1, pp 784-788. [PDF]

  • C. V. Jawahar, Million Meshesha and A. Balasubramanian, Searching in Document Images, Proceedings of the Indian Conference on Vision, Graphics and Image Processing(ICVGIP), Dec. 2004, Calcutta, India, pp. 622--627. [PDF]