This paper will discuss the integration of document image processing and text retrieval principles in order to process and load existing paper documents automatically in an electronic document database that broadens the user's capability to retrieve relevant information more accurately, without going through costly processes to get paper documents into electronic text. The principles of document image processing systems, as well as the problems and shortcomings of most of today's document image processing systems, will be discussed. Then concept retrieval as the latest development in text retrieval will be discussed, with specific reference to the ability of the TOPIC intelligent text retrieval system to allow users to build up a knowledge base of search objects or concepts that can be used at any point in time by all users for the system. This paper will further specifically look at the automatic processing of paper documents by converting the scanned document image pages through to electronic text. The use of optical character recognition technology, the indexing and loading of the documents in a text database, the automatic linking of the documents to the related document images and the retrieval technology available in TOPIC, specifically the TYPO operator that was developed to handle so‐called dirty data such as the common misspellings, character transpositions and ‘dirty’ text received as output from the OCR process, will be discussed. A possible solution to load paper documents quickly and cost‐effectively into an electronic document database will be discussed and demonstrated in detail. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach will be discussed with specific reference to an electronic news clipping service application.
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