AI & Ancient Texts

The Abbey Library of St. Gall in Switzerland is home to approximately 160,000 volumes of manuscripts dating back to the 8th century – all hand-written on parchment, in languages not spoken in modern times. Now, researchers at University of Notre Dame are developing an artificial neural network to read complex ancient handwriting based on human perception to improve capabilities of deep learning transcription. Says researcher Walter Scheirer, “What we’ve set out to do is automate transcription in a way that mimics the perception of the page through the eyes of the expert reader and provides a quick, searchable reading of the text.” Using deep learning to transcribe ancient texts is something of great interest to scholars in the humanities.

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