Novel Perspectives for the Management of Multilingual and Multialphabetic Heritages through Automatic Knowledge Extraction: The DigitalMaktaba Approach

AUTHORS: S. Bergamaschi, R. Martoglia, F. Ruozzi, R. A. Vigliermo, L. Sala, M. Vanzini


Work Package : WP5

Keywords: digital libraries; minority languages; humanistic informatics; computer archiving; intercultural communication

The linguistic and social impact of multiculturalism can no longer be neglected in any sector, creating the urgent need of creating systems and procedures for managing and sharing cultural heritages in both supranational and multi-literate contexts. In order to achieve this goal, text sensing appears to be one of the most crucial research areas. The long-term objective of the DigitalMaktaba project, born from interdisciplinary collaboration between computer scientists, historians, librarians, engineers and linguists, is to establish procedures for the creation, management and cataloguing of archival heritage in non-Latin alphabets. In this paper, we discuss the currently ongoing design of an innovative workflow and tool in the area of text sensing, for the automatic extraction of knowledge and cataloguing of documents written in non-Latin languages (Arabic, Persian and Azerbaijani). The current prototype leverages different OCR, text processing and information extraction techniques in order to provide both a highly accurate extracted text and rich metadata content (including automatically identified cataloguing metadata), overcoming typical limitations of current state of the art approaches. The initial tests provide promising results. The paper includes a discussion of future steps (e.g., AI-based techniques further leveraging the extracted data/metadata and making the system learn from user feedback) and of the many foreseen advantages of this research, both from a technical and a broader cultural-preservation and sharing point of view.

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