Answered By: Laurie Taylor
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2014     Views: 52

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a fully automated process that converts an image file or visual image of numbers and letters into actual text (computer-readable numbers and letters). The text can then be read by software to enable text searching. The OCR process is not completely accurate, and it is less accurate with more difficult images (where the original has unusual text styles, odd fonts and font sizes, images without text, other markings on the images, etc). In some cases, the OCR process will create errors that cannot be corrected through software and other automation and that can only be corrected manually by human oversight. Despite not being perfect, OCR is very important because it creates searchable text for historical documents. As needed and when resources are available, the searchable text can be corrected to 100 percent with far less effort than would be required for full transcription.

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