An Unsupervised and Robust Line and Word Segmentation Method for Handwritten and Degraded Printed Document

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

ACM Transactions on Asian and Low-Resource Language Information Processing


Segmentation of text lines and words in an unconstrained handwritten or a machine-printed degraded document is a challenging document analysis problem due to the heterogeneity in the document structure. Often there is un-even skew between the lines and also broken words in a document. In this article, the contribution lies in segmentation of a document page image into lines and words. We have proposed an unsupervised, robust, and simple statistical method to segment a document image that is either handwritten or machine-printed (degraded or otherwise). In our proposed method, the segmentation is treated as a two-class classification problem. The classification is done by considering the distribution of gap size (between lines and between words) in a binary page image. Our method is very simple and easy to implement. Other than the binarization of the input image, no pre-processing is necessary. There is no need of high computational resources. The proposed method is unsupervised in the sense that no annotated document page images are necessary. Thus, the issue of a training database does not arise. In fact, given a document page image, the parameters that are needed for segmentation of text lines and words are learned in an unsupervised manner. We have applied our proposed method on several popular publicly available handwritten and machine-printed datasets (ISIDDI, IAM-Hist, IAM, PBOK) of different Indian and other languages containing different fonts. Several experimental results are presented to show the effectiveness and robustness of our method. We have experimented on ICDAR-2013 handwriting segmentation contest dataset and our method outperforms the winning method. In addition to this, we have suggested a quantitative measure to compute the level of degradation of a document page image.



Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.