Using codebooks of fragmented connected-component contours in forensic and historic writer identification

L.R.B. Schomaker*, K. Franke, M.L. Bulacu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in 'off-line' writer identification allow for new applications in handwritten text retrieval from archives of scanned historical documents. This paper describes new algorithms for forensic or historical writer identification, using the contours of fragmented connected-components in free-style handwriting. The writer is considered to be characterized by a stochastic pattern generator, producing a family of character fragments (fraglets). Using a codebook of such fraglets from an independent training set, the probability distribution of fraglet contours was computed for an independent test set. Results revealed a high sensitivity of the fraglet histogram in identifying individual writers on the basis of a paragraph of text. Large-scale experiments on the optimal size of Kohonen maps of fraglet contours were performed, showing usable classification rates within a non-critical range of Kohonen map dimensions. The proposed automatic approach bridges the gap between image-statistics approaches and purely knowledge-based manual character-based methods. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-727
Number of pages9
JournalPattern Recognition Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15-Apr-2007


  • writer identification
  • author identification
  • cursive-script segmentation


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