O53: Radial Line Fourier Descriptor for Historical Handwritten Text Representation

Hast, A, Vats, E.

Automatic recognition of historical handwritten manuscripts is a daunting task due to paper degradation over time. Recognition-free retrieval or word spotting is popularly used for information retrieval and digitization of the historical handwritten documents. However, the performance of word spotting algorithms depends heavily on feature detection and representation methods. Although there exist popular feature descriptors such as Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) and Speeded Up Robust Features (SURF), the invariant properties of these descriptors amplify the noise in the degraded document images, rendering them more sensitive to noise and com- plex characteristics of historical manuscripts. Therefore, an efficient and relaxed feature descriptor is required as handwritten words across different documents are indeed similar, but not identical. This paper introduces a Radial Line Fourier (RLF) descriptor for handwritten word representation, with a short feature vector of 32 dimensions. A segmentation-free and training-free handwritten word spotting method is studied herein that relies on the proposed RLF descriptor, takes into account different keypoint representations and uses a simple preconditioner-based fea- ture matching algorithm. The effectiveness of the RLF descriptor for segmentation-free handwritten word spotting is empirically evaluated on well-known historical handwritten datasets using standard evaluation measures.