Towards style-based dating of historical documents

J.W.J. Burgers, Petros Samara, L.R.B. Schomaker, S. He

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeContribution to conference proceedingsScientificpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


Estimating the date of undated medieval manuscripts by evaluating the script they contain, using document image analysis, is helpful for scholars of various disciplines studying the Middle Ages. However, there are, as yet, no systems to automatically and effectively infer the age of historical scripts using machine learning methods. To build a system to date medieval documents is a challenging problem in several aspects: 1) As yet, no suitable reference dataset of medieval handwriting exists; 2) relatively little is known about the evolution of writing styles in the Middle Ages, and especially in the later Middle Ages. Our Medieval Paleographic Scale (MPS) project aims at solving these problems. We have collected a corpus of charters from the Medieval Dutch language area, dating from the period 1300 to 1550. A global and local regression method is proposed for learning and estimating the year in which these documents were written, using several features which have been successfully used in writer identification. The proposed system can serve as a basic tool for the medievalist or paleographer. The experimental results of the proposed method demonstrate its effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2014 14th International Conference on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

Name14th International Conference on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition (ICFHR), Crete, Greece, 2014


  • global and local regression
  • Medieval Paleography
  • historical document dating


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