Section: New Results
Computational history through information extraction from archive texts
Participants : Éric Villemonte de La Clergerie, Marie Puren, Charles Riondet, Alix Chagué, Marie-Laurence Bonhomme.
From two different DH projects emerged some interesting research questions related to the extraction of information from archival documents, in particular the management of the diversity of document types and structures and on the contrary the acquisition of detailed information from a regular visual structure.
In the context of the ANR TIME-US, whose goal is to reconstruct the "time-budgets" of textile workers in France (18th - early 20th centuries), we worked on the creation of a digitization workflow to acquire structured textual data from a wide range of printed and handwritten materials: professional court records (like Prud'Hommes), Police reports on strikes or early sociological studies such as the Monographies de Le Play This workflow has been presented at the ADHO DH conference in Mexico (see the presentation here: .The set up of this workflow is a prerequisite for further experiments and processing to extract information that can be exploited by historians, such as the relation between working tasks, the time spent by workers to perform them and the price they are paid for this time.
Another project was intiated in collaboration with the EPHE and the French National Archives, in the framework of the convention signed between Inria and the Ministry of Culture. This project is called LECTAUREP (for LECTure AUtomatique de REPertoires, and is aimed at extracting the information recorded in the registries of Parisian notaries, held by the National Archives. This project it at the intersection of NLP and Computer Vision because one of the main objectives is to extract information from the physical layout of the documents, presented as tables. Another issue is to be able to recognize with accuracy an important diversity of handwritten scripts. The final goal of LECTAUREP is to give access to researchers the information contained in these records, in particular the name of the persons involved in cases recorded by notaries, their addresses and the nature of the case (wills, powers of attorney, wedding contracts, etc.). An initial report has been produced (see ), and the project will continue in 2019 with the release of the extracted information (named entities, geolocation, typology, etc) into a structured database.