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Posted by Dirk Alvermann on

New public model – German Kurrent 17th-18th

Today we are proud to present our second publicly available HTR model.

“German_Kurrent_17th-18th” is an HTR model for current scripts of the 17th and 18th century. For this model we used ground truth from our various larger and smaller projects of the last four years.

It is a generic model that includes material from about 2000 individual writer’s hands. About 35% of the Ground Truth comes from 17th century manuscripts and 50% from 18th century manuscripts. The remaining 15% are spread over the decades before and after. The documents selected for the training consist mainly of official minutes and legal documents, but also private records and letters of the time. In addition, a few contemporary printed materials (Fraktur), which appear in the records from time to time, were also used for the training. The language of the texts used is predominantly German and Latin. In addition, some Low German and French texts were also used.

Have fun trying it out. Please use the comments to let us know how the model works for you.

Posted by Dirk Alvermann on

Our first public model for german current (17th century)

Today we proudly present our HTR-model “Acta 17” as a public model.

The model was trained on the base of more than 500,000 words from about a 1000 different writers during the period of 1580-1705. It can handle the languages German, Lower German and Latin and is able to decipher simple german and latin abbreviations. Besides the usual chancellery lettering, the training material also contained a selection of concept writings and printed material of the period.

The entire training material is based on legal texts or court writings from the Responsa of the Greifswald Law Faculty. Validation sets are based on a chronological selection of the years: 1580 – 1705. GT & validation set was produced by Dirk Alvermann, Elisabeth Heigl, Anna Brandt.

Due to some problems with creating a large series of base-model-trainings for HTR+ Models in the last couple of weeks, we decided to launch an HTR+ Model trained from the scratch.

It is accompanied by a PyLaia model, which is based on the same training and validation sets and was also trained without using a base model.

For the validation set we choose pages representing single years of the total set of documents. All together they represent 48 selected years, five pages of each year.

How the models do perform in the several time periods of the validation set, you can check in the comparison below. Both models did run without language model.

Posted by Dirk Alvermann on

First volumes with decisions of the Wismar High Court online

Last week we were able to provide the first volumes with the opinions of the assessors of the High Royal Tribunal to Wismar – the final Court of appeal in the German territories of the Swedish Crown. Assessors  is what the judges at the tribunal are called. Since the Great Nordic War there was only a panel of four judges instead of eight. The Deputy President assigned them the cases in which they should form a legal opinion. As at the Reichskammergericht at Wetzlar, speakers and co-referees were appointed for each case, who formulated their opinions in writing and discussed them with their colleagues.  If the votes of the two judges were in agreement, the consensus of the remaining colleagues was only formally requested in the court session. In addition, all relations had to be checked and confirmed by the Deputy President. If the case was more complicated, all assessors expressed their opinion on the verdict. These reasons for the verdict are recorded in the collection of so-called “Relationes”.

These relations are a first-class source for the history of law, since they refer first to the course of the conflict in a narrative and then propose a judgment.  Here we can understand both the legal bases in the justifications and the everyday life of the people in the narratives.The text recognition was realized with an HTR-model that was trained on the manuscripts of 9 different judges of the royal tribunal. The training set consisted of 600,000 words. Accordingly, the accuracy rate of handwritten text recognition is good, which in this case is about 99%.

The results can be seen here. How to navigate in our documents and how the full text search works is explained here.

Who were the judges?

In the second half of the 18th century there was a new generation of judges. At the end of the 1750s / at the beginning of the 1760s, justice  at the tribunal was administered by: Hermann Heinrich von Engelbrecht (1709-1760), since 1745 as Assessor, since 1750 as Deputy President, Bogislaw Friedrich Liebeherr (1695-1761), since 1736 as Assessor, Anton Christoph Gröning (1695-1773), since 1749 as Assessor, Christoph Erhard von Corswanten (about 1708-1777), since 1751 Assessor, since 1761 Deputy President, Carl Hinrich Möller (1709-1759), since 1751 as Assessor, Joachim Friedrich Stemwede (about 1720-1787), since 1760 as Assessor, Johann Franz von Boltenstern (1700-1763), since 1762 as Assessor, Johann Gustrav Friedrich von Engelbrechten (1733-1806), between 1762 and 1775 as Assessor and Augustin von Balthasar (1701-1786), since 1763 as Assessor, since 1778 as Deputy President.

Posted by Elisabeth Heigl on

Transkribus as an instrument for students and professors

In this year’s 24-hour lecture of the University of Greifswald Transkribus and our digitization project will be presented. Elisabeth Heigl, who is involved in the project as a academic assistant, will present some of the exciting cases from the rulings of the law faculty of Greifswald. If you are interested in the history of law, join  the lecture at lecture hall 2, Audimax (Rubenowstraße 1) on 16.11.2019 at 12:00.
Read the whole program of the 24-hour lecture here.

Posted by Dirk Alvermann on

Transcribus in Chicago

Transkribus will be presented at this year’s meeting of the Social Sciences History Association (SSHA) in Chicago. Günter Mühlberger will not only present the potential of Transkribus, but also first results and experiences. These results come from the processing of the cadastral protocols of the Tiroler Landesarchiv and our digitization project. He will pay special attention to the training of HTR models and the chances of keyword spotting.  The lecture will take place on 21.11. at 11:00 am under the title: ‘Handwritten Text Recognition and Keyword Spotting as Research Tools for Social Science and History’ in Session 31 (Emerging Methods: Computation/Spatial Econometrics).

Posted by Anna Brandt on


The blog “Rechtsgeschiedenis” (Otto Vervaart/Utrecht) has given a detailed discussion about the project ‘Rechtssprechung im Ostseeraum’ and our blog. It describes our work with Transkribus, the project itself, as well as the page where we present the results and the blog – a good overview from a user’s perspective.