Author Archives: borisdelic

OCR Project

What is the best way of preserving and sharing cultural heritage like books and pictures? During my studies I am met with the obstacle of not finding books that were needed for classes since they were old and nobody took the time or had the resources to make them available. I assume, this would be the case for many technologically underdeveloped countries and countries with few resources. Is it possible to do something about it with few resources, based on the voluntary work of a few enthusiasts? Thanks to DH at the University in Oslo I have obtained insight in the possibility of how something can be done about it.

This term paper will be created in two parts. The first part will focus on the transformation of the book from hardcover to digitalized e-book by scanning the physical copy and then using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to make the content of the book machine-readable. One of the most used programs for this type of work is ABBYY, but since it is proprietary software I will try to find a free option, possible Tesseract.

In the second part of the term paper I will walk the reader through the process of publishing the e-book and making it available for public use. This will be done by Creating an Wikisource account and learn about legal criteria and guidelines for publishing material on internet and on Wikisource. Secondly, I will make proper metadata for this book on Wikisource and make description on how it works.

The book that I will work on is a travelogue describing Norway “Letters from Norway” by Isidora Sekulich, an Serbian intellectual who traveled to Norway in 1912, and published her book in 1914. This book it is a unique view of early travels to Norway with a South-East European view. I chose the book because it does not exist in digital form yet and the copyright has expired.

I would like to write this term paper in a way that it can used as a guideline for creating other, similar projects.

Preliminary sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_character_recognition  (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesseract_(software) (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLXEYtvNfP (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO-1rztr4O0 (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://github.com/Bockwinkel/OCR  (accessed 24.04.2018)

Practical use of Cirrus in Voyant Tools

What is Cirrus and what purpose does it have in Voyant tools? It is best explained by the Voyant tools documentation on Voyant-tools.org: “Cirrus is a word cloud displaying the frequency of words appearing in a corpus. Words occurring more frequently appear larger”.

For the purpose of showing the practical use of Cirrus in Voyant tools I have chosen the literary master piece ‘Iliad’, supposedly written by the blind poet Homer. Since the first time I read (around the age of 9) it, I was amazed by the age of this work, the war between Greeks and Trojans and my favorite hero Achilles. Let’s see if Voyant Tools can give me some new view on the theme of this work.

After uploading the text of the ‘Iliad’ into Voyant Tools first thing that catches our eyes is Cirrus (one big word cloud). In the centre of the word cloud we can see one big ‘’â’. 

By pointing over this letter with the courser we can see the number 1124. This is the number of times that the letter ‘â’ appears in the text.. Since ‘â’ is not revelent for my interest we can remove it by clicking on the “Define options for this tool” and ad ‘â’ to the list of irrelevant words and letters (I will do same with “a”).

Now we can see that the most frequent words are “son” (369); “Greeks” (313); “spake” (247); “men” (229); “Hector” (199).

This was a really big surprise for me! My favorite hero Achilles was not in the cloud! Was not this book about him and his deeds? In the upper left corner I clicked on “Terms” determined to find “Achilles”. And there he was. After typing “Achilles” in the field below the list of words and there frequency of occurance in the text I saw that he ended up on the 42.

place, below my second favorite hero of the story “Ajax”. Sadly “Links” did not work on the word “Achilles” so I was not able to figure out with what words “Achilles” co-occurred most often so I could perhaps understand why my favorite hero was not mentioned as often as I remembered when I read the ‘Iliad‘ as a kid.

Voyant and the Cirrus made me think that this story was not about my favorite hero, but about the relationship between fathers and the sons. Maybe “Hector” is the real hero of my favorite novel.

 

Drupal for newbies!

Drupal for newbies!

As a young man (fascinated by internet in generally) I came across the Drupal CMS system in my search for a publishing platform. At the time I quickly moved on searching for new CMS platforms since Drupal looked complicated and I landed on WordPress as many others. Today, as a master student at University in Oslo I meet with Drupal again, and discover its true nature and the reason why I found it hard to understand – by reading the article written by Quinn Dombrowski “Drupal and other content management system”.

So, what is Drupal and why didn’t I understand it (or, as a better way of saying it: why didn’t I bother to understand it)? Simply explained, Drupal is an CMS (content management system) that lets you create, form and manage web sites. What made Drupal different from other CMS (like WordPress) is the structure which is made to look like LEGO blocks and for which the user only gets the basic ones in the start package. Then they need to build it up themselves by adding other blocks according to the user’s project needs. The good thing is that the license is open – so everybody can create his or her own LEGO-like blocks for their project needs and in that manner, also contribute to Drupal community. Other CMS systems can be used by researchers, too, but are more compact and build in the way of a dollhouse where the user can move furniture around but can’t make the basic CMS package bigger or smaller, like, for example, WordPress. In that way, Drupal is a more scholar oriented CMS than WordPress, and it makes it more suitable for bigger projects.

There are few other crucial things that make Drupal different from other CMS systems. While other CMS come with pre-defined web based forms, Drupal has only basic ones. This way it becomes easy to add extensions (modules) to Drupal so that researchers can share their own forms while keeping a small base. Extensions are also used to add data in an easy way and to view content in the way the researcher finds most relevant for the project. One advantage for DH (Digital Humanities) and TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) is, that existing extensions allow easy sharing and exporting of data by  adding an export button.

It will be interesting to try out Drupal in praxis after having read the article by Dombrowski on the subject and finally understood it!