Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Dhali et al. 2020 - Feature-extraction methods for historical manuscript dating based on writing style development

Maruf Dhali et al. from the Groningen ERC team just published a paper on the use of digital feature-extraction methods for dating Dead Sea Scrolls.

Maruf A. Dhali et al., Feature-Extraction Methods for Historical Manuscript Dating Based on Writing Style Development, Pattern Recognition Letters 131 (2020): 41320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.patrec.2020.01.027.


Proposes feature-extraction techniques for dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS).
A grapheme-based method with a self-organized time map outperforms textural methods.
A codebook size of 225 performs the best with a Mean Absolute Error (MAE) of 23.4 years.
Cumulative Score (α = 25) improves with an increase in the sub-codebook size.
The result is positioned as a basic benchmark for further work on dating for the DSS.


Paleographers and philologists perform significant research in finding the dates of ancient manuscripts to understand the historical contexts. To estimate these dates, the traditional process of using classical paleography is subjective, tedious, and often time-consuming. An automatic system based on pattern recognition techniques that infers these dates would be a valuable tool for scholars. In this study, the development of handwriting styles over time in the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of ancient manuscripts, is used to create a model that predicts the date of a query manuscript. In order to extract the handwriting styles, several dedicated feature-extraction techniques have been explored. Additionally, a self-organizing time map is used as a codebook. Support vector regression is used to estimate a date based on the feature vector of a manuscript. The date estimation from grapheme-based technique outperforms other feature-extraction techniques in identifying the chronological style development of handwriting in this study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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