About this Project: The proof of the pudding

01 Sep

It’s less than a year until the centenary of the start of WWI, and ten months until the first of the letters is scheduled for publication on the 6th July.  The last 10 months have been busy for me, but it’s time to pick this project up again.

A friend of mine has agreed to proof-read the letters for me. His name is Chris Miller and, appropriately for this project, he is the great-great-nephew of the Winslow Boy who was killed at Ypres on the 31st October 1914 aged 19.  If you want proof-reading done, just drop Chris a line.  His work is sorely needed on this project.

The OCR software I’m using is Abbyy FineReader and it’s fussy.  Like all powerful software you have to know how to configure it in order to get the best out of it.

The three screenshots below show just what a difference it made when I managed to re-tune the settings in the OCR software.  Here is one of the original letters, typed in a crazy 1970s typeface.


Here is the Word version with the software sorting stuff out automatically. I’ve set MS Word to show a dot wherever there is a wordspace, to bring out just how impossible the results are.  As you can see it reads My dear Mother as M y d e a r M o t b c r.  With results this bad, retyping looked like the only option.


Fiddling around with the settings has produced this; a change in quality so dramatic that it makes the project doable.


There is still plenty of proof-reading for Chris to do in order for the text to be postable here.  But the project is exciting again, rather than a heart-sink.

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Posted by on 1 September, '13 in About



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