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Unearthing the Recent Past: Digitising and Understanding Statistical Information from Census Tables

C. Clausner, J. Hayes, A. Antonacopoulos, S. Pletschacher

Proceedings of Second International Conference on Digital Access to Textual Cultural Heritage (DATeCH 2017), Goettingen, Germany, 01 - 02 June 2017

Abstract

Censuses comprise a wealth of information at a large (national) scale that allow governments (who commission them) and the public to have a detailed snapshot of how people live (geographical distribution and characteristics). In addition to underpinning socioeconomic research, the study of historical Census statistics provides a unique opportunity to understand several characteristics in a country and its heritage. This paper presents an overview of a complete account of the background, challenges, implemented preprocessing, recognition and post-processing pipeline, and the information-rich results obtained through a pilot digitisation project on the 1961 Census of England and Wales (the first time computers were used to process data and output very detailed information, a vital part of which is only available in the form of degraded historical computer printouts). The experience gained and the resulting methodology can also be used for digitising and understanding tabular information in a large variety of application scenarios.

Citation

C. Clausner, J. Hayes, A. Antonacopoulos, S. Pletschacher , "Unearthing the Recent Past: Digitising and Understanding Statistical Information from Census Tables", Proceedings of Second International Conference on Digital Access to Textual Cultural Heritage (DATeCH 2017), Goettingen, Germany, 01 - 02 June 2017

DOI

10.1145/3078081.3078106

Full Paper

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Related Projects

Census 1961