14
Nov 22, 2021
Journal of Computational Social Science
DOI :
10.1007/s42001-021-00149-1
Article
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Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can open up understudied historical documents to computational analysis, but the accuracy of OCR software varies. This article reports a benchmarking experiment comparing the performance of Tesseract, Amazon Textract, and Google Document AI on images of English and Arabic text. English language book scans (n = 322) and Arabic language article scans (n = 100) were replicated 43 times with different types of artificial noise for a corpus of 18,568 documents, generating 51,304 process requests. Document AI delivered the best results, and the server based processors (Textract and Document AI) performed substantially better than Tesseract, especially on noisy documents. Accuracy for English was considerably higher than for Arabic. Specifying the relative performance of three leading OCR products and the differential effects of commonly found noise types can help scholars identify better OCR solutions for their research needs. The test materials have been preserved in the openly available “Noisy OCR Dataset” (NOD) for reuse in future benchmarking studies.

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