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Posted by Dirk Alvermann on

Structural tagging – what else you might do with it (Layout and beyond)

In one of the last posts you read how we use structural tagging. Here you can find how the whole toolbox of structural tagging works in general. In our project it was mainly used to create an adapted LA model for the mixed layouts. But there is even more potential in it.
Who doesn’t know the problem?

There are several, very different handwritings on one page and it becomes difficult to get consistently good HTR results. This happens most often when a ‘clean’ handwriting has been commented in concept handwriting by another writer. Here is an example:

The real reason for the problem is that HTR has only been executed at the page level so far. This means that you can have one page or several pages read either with one or the other HTR model. But it is not possible to read with two different models, which are adapted to the respective handwritings.

Since version 1.10. it is possible to apply HTR models on the level of text regions instead of just assigning them to pages. This allows the contents of individual specific text regions on a page to be read using different HTR models. Structure tagging plays an important role here, for example, in the case of text regions with script styles that differ from the main text. These are tagged with a specific structure tag, to which a special HTR model is then assigned. Reason enough, therefore, to take a closer look at structure tagging.

Posted by Anna Brandt on

P2PaLA – line detection and HTR

Release 1.9.1

As already mentioned in a previous post, we noticed in the course of our project that the CITLabAdvanced-LA does not optimally identify the layout in our material. This happens not only on the ‘bad’ pages with mixed layouts, but also on simple layouts, i.e. on pages without any marginalias at the edge, great deletions in the text or similar. Here the automatic LA recognizes the TR correctly, but the baselines are often faulty.

This is not only confusing when the full text is displayed later; an insufficient LA also influences the result of the HTR. No matter how good your HTR model is: if the LA does not offer adequate quality, it is a problem.

The HTR does not read the single characters, but works line based and should recognize patterns. But if the line detection did not identify the lines correctly (in case letters or words were not recognized by the LA) this often produces wrong HTR results. This can have dramatic effects on the accuracy rate of a page or an entire document, as our example shows.

1587, page 41

For this reason we have trained a P2PaLA model which also detects BLs. That was very helpful. It is not possible to calculate statistics like CERs for these layout models, but from the visual point it seems to work almost error-free on ‘simple’ pages. In addition, a postprocessing is no longer necessary in many cases.

The training material for such a model is created in a similar way to models that should recognize TRs only. The individual baselines do not have to be tagged manually for the structural analysis, even if the model does so later in order to assign them to the tagged TR. With the support of the Transkribus team and a training material of 2500 pages, we were able to train the structural model that we use today instead of the standard LA.

Posted by Anna Brandt on

P2PaLA – Postprocessing

Release 1.9.1

Especially at the beginning of the development of a structure model, it occurred to us that the model recognized every irregularity in the layout as a TR. This leads to excessive – and unnecessary – many text regions. Many of these TRs were also extremely small.

The more training material you invest, the smaller the problem. In our case these mini TRs disappeared, after we had trained our model with about 1000 pages. Until then, they are annoying because removing them all by hand is tedious.

To reduce this labour you have two options. Firstly, starting the P2PaLA you can determine how large the smallest TR is allowed to be. For this you have to select the corresponding value in the “P2PaLA structure analysis tool” before starting the job (“Min area”).

If this option does not bring the expected success, there is the option “remove small textregions”. You will find this on the left toolbar, under the item “other segmentation tools”. In the menu you can set the pages on which the filter should run as well as the size of the TR to be removed.  The size is calculated in “Threshold percentage of image size”. Here the value can be calibrated finer than with the above mentioned option. If the images, as with our material, often have small notes, for example the marginalias where there is only a single word in a TR, then the smallest or second smallest value possible should be chosen. We usually use the “Threshold percentage” of 0.005.

Even with a good structural model, it may still be possible that individual TRs have to be manually merged, split or removed, but to a much lesser extent than the standard LA would require.

Tips & Tools
Important: If you want to be sure that you don’t remove too many TRs, you can start with a “dry run”. Then the number of potentially removable TRs will be listed. As soon as you uncheck the box, the affected TRs will be deleted immediately.

Posted by Anna Brandt on

P2PaLA – Training for Textregions

Release 1.9.1

At another place of these blog you can find information and tips for structure tagging. This kind of tagging can be good for a lot of things – the following is about its use for an improved layout analysis. Because structure tagging is an important part of training P2PaLA models.

With our mixed layouts the standard LA simply had to fail. The material was too extensive for a manual creation of the layout. So we decided to try P2PaLA. For this we created training material for which we selected particularly “difficult” but at the same time “typical” pages. These were pages that contained, in addition to the actual main text, comments and additions and the like.

coll: UAG Strukturtagging, doc. UAG 1618-1, image 12

For the training material only the correctly drawn and tagged text regions are important. No additional line detection or HTR is required. However, it doesn’t bother either, so you can include pages that have already been completely edited in the training. However, if you take new pages on which only the TR has to be drawn and tagged, you’ll be faster. Then you can prepare eighty to one hundred pages for training in one hour.

While we had tagged seven different structure types with our first model, we later reduced the number to five. In our experience, a too strong differentiation of the structure types has a rather negative effect on the training.

Of course, the success of the training also depends on the amount of training material you invest. According to our experience (and based on our material) you can make a good start with 200 pages, with 600 pages you get a model you can already work with; from 2000 pages on it is very reliable.

Tips & Tools
When you create the material for structure training, it is initially difficult to realize that this is not about content. That means no matter what the content is, the TR in the middle is always the paragraph. Even if there is only one note in the middle and the concept is much longer and more important. This is the only way to really recognize the necessary patterns during training.