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CartoTXT is dedicated to the promotion of the use of the cartographic heritage. It will be a tool to help the map curators in the cataloguing process. This tool will work online from numerical reproductions of the documents.
CartoTXT will be developed by an association of CartoMundi with a research team specialized in the fields of Optical Characters Recognition – OCR and image treatment. The system will associate OCR processing with a references database which will record: the statements themselves with all their writings, the standard form for each statement, the corresponding field and also information about its position in the sheet, the type, the size and the color of the prints… For the dates or for the proper titles, it will record the form of the statement, independently of the text itself. The system will work by comparison of the statements founded on the documents and the records of the database.
CartoTXT will operate on the cartographic series because they present several peculiarities that the system takes into account. 1. All the statements used for cataloguing are clearly out of the geographical representation: they are all in the frame or in the margins. 2. Most of the sheets of a series, or most of the statements of each sheet, are organized according to the same pattern. For example: The proper titles of the sheets are always in the same position, in the same type, in the same color... 3. Each sheet of a series bears several standard statements: the name of the editor, the proper title of the series…
Each series has its own characteristics. For that reason the system will process by sets of documents: each set will correspond to a series. During the processing of the first sheets of each set, the map librarian will help the system in the spotting of these peculiarities. They will be recorded and organized by the system according to the librarians’s choices. Each treatment of a new set of maps will improve the database, particularly for the standard statements. For this reason it will work online.
The CartoTXT tool will change very deeply the librarian practices. It will catch up the cataloguing delay that is the first aim of the project. But, it will also change the practices of cataloguing. With CartoTXT the access to the documents themselves won’t be required. So, it will be possible to manage the cataloguing process from any place, without any restriction and at any time. And that will be a revolution for the practices.