Manuscripts are among the most important witnesses to our European shared cultural heritage and, while being increasingly digitized and published in large digital archives and libraries, they represent a valuable part of the European Digital Heritage. Its exploration, understanding, and dissemination of need new tools for promoting the community engagement with, and use of, heritage. Indeed, the wealth of information conveyed by the text captured in these images remains largely inaccessible, whereas general users and researchers more and more expect to query handwritten resources in plain text like printed books and, furthermore, to get the answers in a meaningful environment which accompanies the user experience with semantically structured information and visualisations.
Capitalizing on the success of the JPI-CH Heritage Plus funded HIMANIS project, HOME will associate Computer Science (UPVLC, A2iA, Teklia), Humanities (IRHT) and Cultural Heritage (NACR) institutions, plus a network of Research and cultural heritage institutions (ICARUS as Associate Partner) in order to not only produce technology to generate new, research-based knowledge from historical manuscripts, but also implement a user and researcher friendly environment for fostering a meaningful experience for scholarly research and discovery.
HOME aims at (1) further developing searching approaches specifically designed for querying large sets of text images digitized from historical handwritten documents; (2) linking Digital Cultural Heritage and associated metadata (abstract, indexes and text editions) and authority data (indexes, gazetteers), which are disconnected from the digitized primary sources and stored in separate silos; (3) establishing a knowledge framework and a semantic information retrieval system, to understand the multilingual medieval sources; (4) presenting, visualizing and interpreting the sources on the History of Medieval Europe; (5) leveraging meaningful discovery and research experience in an user-centered and ergonomic environment.