Optical Recognition Software
OCR or Optical Character Recognition is the methodology by which images of scanned text can be converted into computer-editable text. Unless this process is initiated and completed, the computer cannot "read" or understand the information, thereby rendering it useless for any kind of electronic application. First patented by Gustav Tauschek in Germany in 1929, OCR has grown to become the leading technology in data and document management in the world. What is meant by OCR is that deals with the methods of pattern recognition, whereby a machine gets to decode physical text and then it can be stored, retrieved and used for various applications. Without the advent of OCR, documents would still be stored in physical form, taking up space, entailing labor and causing excessive clutter and confusion.
How OCR Works
OCR has grown to become an indispensable component of present-day information and document management. OCR systems are of two kinds; general readers and task-specific readers. The general reader can deal with several types of documents, while the task-specific one can manage only a particular kind of document. Various kinds of software are available for OCR, to support diverse modes of optical recognition. This could be support for various scripts and languages. The OCR system has an optical scanner, software and hardware. The scanner or reader reads the text of the document and then the software and specialized hardware circuitry process this reading to analyze and recognize it to make it an editable document.
Applications of OCR are varied, as it is used in several sectors for diverse purposes. Schools and other educational institutions use it to evaluate answer scripts and store examination papers. In medical establishments, OCR systems are used to store the case histories of patients and other medical records. Business houses use OCR for storage of invoices and other documents. Prevention of fraud is another area where OCR systems are widely used. OCR readers are used for validation of passports, checks and other important documents. This has become necessary, as with the development of high-performance copiers and scanners it has become difficult to recognize the copy from the original leading to fraud and embezzlement.