Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Correcting OCR using hOCR in Firefox

Quick post on a little tool I came across, moz-hocr-edit. This Firefox add-on lets you proofread Optical Character Recognition (OCR) output. Given my interest in OCR and the Biodiversity Heritage Library I decided to take it for a spin.

moz-hocr-edit uses the hOCR, which is a format for representing the output of OCR software, and is used by tools such as OCRopus (you can see the public specification for hOCR here). Basically it's a microformat, that is, it's HTML with some additional tags. Given some hOCR, moz-hocr-edit enables you to edit the OCR output line-by-line.

I've created a simple demo based upon Case 3368 Eatoniella Dall, 1876 and EATONIELLIDAE Ponder, 1965 (Mollusca, Gastropoda): proposed conservation. For the demo to work you will need to use the Firefox web browser with the moz-hocr-edit installed.

  1. Go to
  2. You will see a simple HTML representation of the OCR text from "Case 3368 Eatoniella Dall, 1876 and EATONIELLIDAE Ponder, 1965 (Mollusca, Gastropoda): proposed conservation". I created this HTML from the original ABBYY FineReader XML from the Internet Archive.
  3. On the bottom right-hand of the Firefox browser window you should see hOCR. Click on it and select "Edit this hOCR document":
  4. Firefox will open a new tab that will look something like this:
  5. You can now edit individual lines of text, and see your edits applied to the HTML below.
moz-hocr-edit is a neat little tool. With appropriate web server settings (and, as the tool's author Jim Garrison suggests, autoversioning) it could the basis of a great tool for correcting OCR errors in BHL.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Talk @vizbi on phylogeny visualisation

The talks from the 2001 workshop on Visualizing Biological Data (VizBi 2011) are now available on Vimeo. There were some great talks at VizBi, especially the keynotes (the "featured videos" on the Vimeo page for VizBi).

My own (slightly breathless) talk was on phylogeny visualisation, which you can watch below.

Visualization of phylogenetics & phylogeography from Roderic Page on Vimeo.

In the talk I mention that the slides are also on SlideShare, and that is where you'll find URLs for the projects I mention. The URls aren't all that easy to get that way, so here they are: