Digital initial

To embed digital source of text documents in their printed format. We want to create an easy way to process documents received on paper without the necessity of scanning/digitalizing them.

Our aim

In our daily work we often receive important documents or letters in printed format. Can the paper-based form of communication be replaced by merely digital communication tools? Thinking about this, we came to the conclusion that certain document types are considered to be official only if being printed and sent by post, such as official letters or invoices. This attitude has deep cultural-historical roots in the society therefore it is hard to be changed.

Why do we prepare it?

But we still need documents in digital format so that we can organize and store them, archive them in a searchable way, share easily with others or copy-paste from... We need them digital simply to work with! There are OCR solutions available but those work with considerably high error rates and are uneasy to use.

How does it work?

We embed a visual tag, a 2-dimensional barcode called QR code in the text body. Such QR code, depending on its resolution, can contain text of an entire page but also has some error correction capacity. Nevertheless, such an amount of the information would require a large size image on the page (high resolution image is unavailable to many QR Code readers, particularly mobile phones). So we do not embed the entire document but the link to the online accessible version of it.

Current state

Now we embed the QR code into an initial. This is pretty much similar to the historiated initials of medieval times which were not only typographical decorations but had a narrative value which relates to the entire text and its meaning.

Now we are thinking on to move towards developing an extension for Firefox or find a way to implement into Google Docs services.

Participating researchers

Bujdosó Attila, Szalai András