SignWriting List
November 5, 2013

Thank you, Fabrizio…

Do you want only “handwritten” SignWriting documents in vertical columns? I had gotten the impression that your project wanted only “writing by hand” kind of documents?

But then you mention in any digital format….so could that be computer written texts as well?

I have a lot of handwritten documents from our past, in my garage (can you believe?), that are sitting in notebooks…mostly written with ink pens in stick figures from the early 1980’s for the SignWriter Newspaper project. None of it is computer written because we did not have computer programs at that time - so it is all written by hand with ink pens and most of it looks better than the average handwriting because the purpose of most of the documents was to be published as articles in the SignWriter Newspaper. Most of it is stick figures written receptively and horizontally from left to right -

But I also have other documents of individuals around the world writing by hand too…but not all of it is in vertical columns - some in stick figures and some not -

So my point is, do you want to see the enormous variation of handwritten documents, from 1974-today? or do you want to see computer-written texts too, like the ASL Wikipedia? Steve mentioned that it a previous message and there are some cool things happening with the ASL Wkipedia project and character recognition for that project would indeed be wonderful -

Regarding the ASL Wikipedia project….

Steve is in the process of moving our ASL Wikipedia site from a test area on Wikimedia Labs to the Wikimedia Incubator server. The goal of course is to someday become an “official” Wikipedia, but there is more software development to complete before that can happen. We are excited to be moving over to the Incubator web site. At the moment, the site can be best viewed if you use Chrome or Safari web browsers….Below is a link to a page that lists the titles of some of the documents that have been moved to the Incubator…and as you can see the entire site, including the Menus and the Titles for the articles, are written in ASL. In time, there will be a way to toggle back and forth between languages so the Menus can change languages later, if you cannot read a Menu item in ASL...

Using Chrome or Safari, go to Titles and click on a title in SignWriting to view an article in ASL:

So give me some guidelines - should I scan in pages of handwritten documents from the 1980s? Or do you want more modern documents the way the world is writing right now? and is it only hand-written documents that you want?

Val ;-)


On Nov 4, 2013, at 6:57 AM, Stephen E Slevinski Jr <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi Fabrizio,

Thanks for keeping us posted.  What results have you had from computer printed material?

Would it be possible to print a page from the American Sign Language Wikipedia (SVG) and use Optical Glyph Recognition to identify the symbols used?

Simple math would identify their 2-dimensional placement.  It sounds like it would be possible to create Formal SignWriting strings from a scan.  The strings wouldn't be exactly the same as the input, but searching in SignWriting doesn't require exact string matches.  This is very exciting.



On Nov 4, 2013, at 4:50 AM, Fabrizio Borgia <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Valerie,
we are absolutely in no rush, since we are still developing the OGR engine, and it is still far from complete.
As soon as the new material arrives, I'll be happy to run some tests and show you the result!

2013/10/31 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
SignWriting List
October 31, 2013

Hello All, Fabrizio, and the OGR Team in Toulouse, France ;-)

Happy to meet you all - 

Thank you for this important email, and I am very happy to know about your project. I want you to know that I have not forgotten you…but have been waiting for a quiet moment to be able to concentrate and to provide you with all the feedback and materials you need…So you are in my thoughts, and a real answer is coming -  All is well here… Just have to take one step at a time… I look forward to more communication this weekend - Val ;-)


On Oct 29, 2013, at 9:13 AM, Fabrizio Borgia <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear All,
I'd like to take a moment to explain the work of my team (Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier, Computer Science Department - "Sapienza" University of Rome) in the latest few years.
We are working at a Optical Glyph Recogition (OGR) engine for SignWriting.

Well, OGR sounds very much like OCR (which is Optical Character Recognition) because they both share the same goal: the conversion of images of text into characters. In the OGR case, the characters are the glyphs.
Apart from the goal, OGR and OCR have very little in common. The design and the implementation of our application is somewhat different from the standard OCR design, because we are facing different problems, and different datasets.

We know that there's a huge amount of handwritten SW corpora, scattered around the world, and we believe that they carry an invaluable knowledge, both for the Deaf Community, and for the Research Community. Our goal is to make them digital, to empower their diffusion, and to ensure a long-lasting existence for them.

After a very, very thorough design phase, we are developing the OGR application (and, in confidence, we are about halfway to go) and soon we will release a footage showing our software in action.

To make our OGR stronger, we need to test it with diffrent datasets (SW texts, pages, etc.) we need your help, dear SW list!
We need any kind of handwritten SW texts, in any digital image format.

Optionally, we'd like them to be:
  • written in columns
  • whithout any segmentation (annotation lines, squares, etc.) from one sign to the following one
Anyone can send us some material (even spare pages will DEFINITLEY do) or point us in the right direction?
Thanks in advance
for your time, from Rome!

Fabrizio Borgia, M.D.

Ph.D. Student
Sapienza - Università di Roma  
Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier

O&M SW Engineering Intern
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