pioneers of digital typography (jacques andré, richard southall) will interact with experts in encoding and image analysis techniques (johannes bergerhausen, bart lamiroy) as well as with some of the most innovative software creators currently in activity (erik van blokland, frederik berlaen, simon egli, pierre marchand, jean-yves ramel, yannick mathey and louis-rémi babé…).
A printed document can be digitised in two different ways: either as a static image, in which case it tends to remain faithful in appearance to the original page it is reproduced from; or, in instances where an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process is applied, it can be converted into a text format that is both editable and searchable, but whose typographic style may significantly differ from the original. One also observes that the oldest the document, the more difficult its automatic conversion through OCR tends to become. In comparison, an intermediate mode that would faithfully reproduce the typography of a document, while embedding dynamic text, could provide researchers with unprecedented possibilities with regards to the transcription of ancient texts.
With this goal in mind, the Atelier National de Recherche Typographique
is currently working on a multidisciplinary research programme at the crossroad between computer sciences, humanities and design, in partnership with the Loria
(a computer science research department based in Nancy), and the Bibliothèques virtuelles humanistes
programme of the CESR in Tours.
Can we conceive an OCR workflow that generates typefaces ‘on the fly’, from scanned pages of text? What degree of accuracy could then be achieved? And to which extent could we automate the type design process?
The symposium Automatic type design
, which will be held in Nancy on 6–7 May 2014, will attempt to answer some of these questions by bringing together engineers, developers, historians and designers. The themes under discussion will include:
– Optical character recognition applied to ancient documents: data extraction, segmentation, inventory and comparative analysis;
– The encoding and the standardization of missing characters;
– The subjective interpretation of printed type by a designer: the revival;
– The objective interpretation of letterforms through image analysis techniques;
– Parametric fonts, technologies for detecting the outline of a character, and for determining its underlying structure;
— The creation of innovative software for digital typography.