optical character recognition

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optical character recognition

(OCR), method for the machine-reading of typeset, typed, and, in some cases, hand-printed letters, numbers, and symbols using optical sensingoptical sensing,
in general, any method by which information that occurs as variations in the intensity, or some other property, of light is translated into an electric signal. This is usually accomplished by the use of various photoelectric devices.
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 and a computer. The light reflected by a printed text, for example, is recorded as patterns of light and dark areas by an array of photoelectric cellsphotoelectric cell
or photocell,
device whose electrical characteristics (e.g., current, voltage, or resistance) vary when light is incident upon it. The most common type consists of two electrodes separated by a light-sensitive semiconductor material.
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 in a optical scanner. A computer program analyzes the patterns and identifies the characters they represent, with some tolerance for less than perfect and uniform text. OCR is also used to produce text files from computer files that contain images of alphanumeric characters, such as those produced by fax transmissions. See also computer graphicscomputer graphics,
the transfer of pictorial data into and out of a computer. Using analog-to-digital conversion techniques, a variety of devices—such as curve tracers, digitizers, and light pens—connected to graphic computer terminals, computer-aided design
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; pen-based computerpen-based computer,
computer that uses software to enable it to accept handwriting or drawing as a form of input. A stylus, which may contain special electronic circuitry, may be used to write on the computer display or on a separate tablet.
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; personal digital assistantpersonal digital assistant
(PDA), lightweight, hand-held computer designed for use as a personal organizer with communications capabilities; also called a handheld. A typical PDA has no keyboard, relying instead on special hardware and pen-based computer software to enable the
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optical character recognition

[′äp·tə·kəl ′kar·ik·tər ‚rek·ig‚nish·ən]
(computer science)
That branch of character recognition concerned with the automatic identification of handwritten or printed characters by any of various photoelectric methods. Abbreviated OCR. Also known as electrooptical character recognition.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Optical Character Recognition

(OCR, sometimes /oh'k*/) Recognition of printed or written characters by computer. Each page of text is converted to a digital using a scanner and OCR is then applied to this image to produce a text file. This involves complex image processing algorithms and rarely achieves 100% accuracy so manual proof reading is recommended.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)


(Optical Character Recognition) The machine recognition of printed characters. OCR systems can recognize many different fonts, including those designed specifically for optical recognition as well as typewriter and computer-printed characters. Advanced OCR systems can recognize hand printing.

From Bitmaps to ASCII
When a text document is scanned into the computer, a picture is taken of each page. Just like a digital photo, the page becomes a bitmapped image of pixels. OCR software then analyzes the light and dark pixels in order to recognize each letter and digit, which is converted to an ASCII character. See bitmap, ASCII file and pixel.

Hand printing is much more difficult to analyze than machine printing. Old, worn and smudged documents are also problematic. OCR is sometimes as much an art as it is a science.

OCR A Font
This is an example of the OCR A font. OCR A was designed specifically for optical recognition in the late 1960s when the average computer's processing power was dramatically less than it is today.

OCR Processing
When text documents are scanned, they are "photographed" and stored as pictures in the computer. OCR software converts the pictures into actual text characters, which take up considerably less room on disk.

OCR Machines
The "football field-long" machine (top) from Recognition Equipment, Inc. was used in the 1970s to process checks and credit card slips. The machine at the bottom is a contemporary unit. Both machines can handle OCR and MICR processing. (Images courtesy of BancTec, Inc.)

OCR Machines
The "football field-long" machine (top) from Recognition Equipment, Inc. was used in the 1970s to process checks and credit card slips. The machine at the bottom is a contemporary unit. Both machines can handle OCR and MICR processing. (Images courtesy of BancTec, Inc.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
"To date, almost one million document pages have been digitalised using cutting edge optical character recognition software in preparation for storage in the new digital environment," he said.
The resulting data will be read with optical character recognition software to produce searchable versions of the documents, according to media reports.
Also included is ABBYY FineReader Optical Character Recognition software that allows scanned documents to be easily converted into text on the computer.
DocuLex, creator of document imaging software, has released DocuLex Office OCR, an optical character recognition software product enabling the conversion of paper documents and TIFF, JPEG, PCX, DCX and BMP files to a text-based format, for amending as needed with business communications software (Microsoft Office).
These specialized printers use an embossed heavyweight paper to print Braille that has been translated by an optical character recognition software program (Cook, 2002).
Optical character recognition software scans the text on printed documents straight into your word-processor and documents can be faxed using your PC modem or copied using your printer.
As a scanner it offers 600 x1200 dpi optical resolution, 9600 dpi enhanced resolution and 36-bit colour as well as optical character recognition software while as a copier it delivers copying speeds of 11 copies per minute (cpm) in black and 8cpm in colour.
ScanSoft Inc has released TextBridge Pro Millennium, the latest version of its optical character recognition software.
ScanSoft Inc, the Peabody, Massachusetts-based digital imaging and optical character recognition software company, has acquired and licensed photo imaging software products and technology from MetaCreations Inc, it emerged last week.
With the use of full-page scanners and optical character recognition software, much of the firm's paper records could be placed on one or more discs.
(A palimpsest, the back cover helpfully reminds the reader, is a document that has been written upon several times, "often with remnants of earlier, imperfectly erased writing still visible.") Unlike Orwell's, though, Huber's instruments of inventive plagiarism aren't scissors and glue, but more modern ones: a Hewlett-Packard flatbed scanner, Calera optical character recognition software, the Xy-Write III+ word processing program, and a fast 486 PC.
After a document is scanned and stored using LaserFiche imaging software, optical character recognition software (OCR) developed by Calera is used to extract the typewritten text of the scanned document.

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