The Mission: IMPACT is a project funded by the European Commission. It aims to significantly IMProve ACcess to historical Text and to take away the barriers that stand in the way of the mass digitisation of the European cultural heritage.
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Overall objectives of IMPACT

Significantly improve access to historical text

  • Innovate OCR technology
    • By exploring the challenges using different approaches, rather than from just one side
    • By developing cutting-edge approaches such as collaborative correction
  • Provide innovative language technologies to remove the historical language barrier
  • Ensure the interoperability of the results
  • By defining an overall technical architecture and monitoring technical integration across all parts of the project

Take away the barriers that stand in the way of the mass digitization of the European cultural heritage

  • Provide Best Practice guidance about the operational context for digitisation
  • Deliver a coherent programme of dissemination, training and demonstration aimed at capacity-building in and beyond participating institutions
  • Address the needs of end-users and holders of collections of material in languages other than English

Ensure that tools and services will be sustained after the end of the project

  • Build a network of competence centres in order to provide a single access point for all players involved in mass-digitisation and full-text generation
  • Define strategies for the exploitation of the results during the project


ABBYY’s role in IMPACT

ABBYY is one of the over 26 European Partners within IMPACT. The Partners have different focus areas:

  • Major European Libraries that “own” the historic materials
  • Scientific Institutions who work in different areas:
    • Linguistics / Computer Linguistic
    • Image Processing
    • Document Analysis
    • Technical implementation and integration of the technologies
  • 2 Industry Partners: ABBYY & IBM Israel


  • Provides the relevant OCR technology for the IMPACT members
  • Develops further improvements of image preprocessing, layout (or page) and analysis of documents
  • Adds OCR-XML output for the recreation of logical document structure
  • Adapts the core OCR components for a full variety of different historical printing materials in European languages

Improvements ABBYY already productised

  • OCR improvements for old European fonts
  • New binarisation is optimized for old doccuments
  • Optimization for old newspapers’ recognition

Currently in Progress

  • OCR adjustment on special samples collected by leading European libraries
    (Status: 04/2011)

Press Release

IMPACT Final Conference - Michael Fuchs from IMPACT Centre of Competence on Vimeo.

impact Centre of Competence

The IMPACT Centre of Competence in Digitisation is a not for profit organisation with the mission to make the digitisation of historical printed text “better, faster, cheaper”. It will provide tools, services and facilities to further advance the state-of-the-art in the field of document imaging, language technology and the processing of historic text.

More about IMPACT

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