Recent Research by Susan Laflin.

I have always been interested in the applications of Computer Science to History and Archaeology and in 1973 I founded the annual conference on Computer Applications to Archaeology. In 1997 I and some members of the Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit organised the 25th conference at Birmingham. Details of more recent conferences may be seen at the main CAA web page or the web-page for the UK chapter of CAA at .

Shortly before my retirement, my main research interest was in methods of handwriting recognition with particular application to historical documents. Several of my papers were published and a selection of these may be viewed here.

Handwriting Recognition 1992-1995

These papers all relate to the approach to handwriting recognition which I devised. This requires three main components.
1) a description of the particular hand which allows ASCII text to be converted into word-images of the text in that hand.
2) a dictionary of the words which are likely to appear in the text of the document.
3) a method of pre-processing of an image of a page of the document to identify the spaces between lines and words and so split the image of the page into an ordered sequence of word-images.
These unknown word-images can then be compared with the generated images of known words in an attempt to identify them.

The most recent paper, entitled "A Software Tool for Historical Manuscripts" was presented at the AHC conference at Montreal in August 1995. This version was updated on my return from the conference.

Another paper, entitled "The Generation of Gothic Text" was given at the international conference of the Association for History and Computing at Nijmegen in August 1994.

Another paper was given at the Computer Applications in Archaeology conference at Glasgow in the Spring of 1994 and published in the proceedings. This paper, entitled "A New Method of Off-line Text Recognition" described the current state of the project and is included here.

The first paper on this topic, entitled "An Interactive System for Off-line Text Recognition" was presented at the History and Computing Conference at Graz, 24th-27th August 1993 and a version appeared in the proceedings of that conference.

Throughout my earlier career, my research interests were directed towards the applications of computers to history and archaeology. In 1973 I started the annual conference in "Computer Applications in Archaeology". I organised these conferences at Birmingham throughout the 1970s and then, as other universities became interested, others gradually took over the organisation.
In 1992, I presented a paper on "Analysis of Pottery from Wroxeter Roman City" at the CAA conference at Aarhus.

Since retiring, I have become interested in local history and in 2001 was awarded the degree of MA in English Local History. The dissertation for this and other papers since then may be seen at my home web page. To view this please click here. I am also interested in place-names and family history. While I use my computer experience in this research, I have not attempted any new computer science research.

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Page maintained by Susan Laflin. Last updated September 2005.