IMPACT Final Conference – Introduction to the IMPACT Centre of Competence

Impact CoCNews

Hildelies Balk-Pennington De Jongh and Aly Conteh introduce the IMPACT Centre of Competence

Aly Conteh (BL), Hildelies Balk-Pennington De Jongh (KB) and Lieke Ploeger (KB) introduced and launched the IMPACT Centre of Competence!

While still facing many challenges, IMPACT aims at providing solid foundations by getting good quality OCR text which will enable the project to undertake new avenues of research. Furthermore, IMPACT’s strength lies in the development of a very strong collaboration between communities, a collaboration which the project strives to maintain and build on. After all, the Centre of Competence is exactly this, the bringing together of communities and experts to look at ways to optimise the tools used to extract text from historical documents. In addition, IMPACT has developed a knowledge bank offering guidelines and materials for institutions working on OCR projects all over the world. These resources can be found at the Centre of Competence website, Other valuable services offered by the Centre include a Ground Truth dataset, as well as a helpdesk, specifically designed and created for institutions to ask questions to experts who can, in turn, give some insight into how to address issues raised.

However, as with every enterprise, there exists the issue of sustainability. How do we sustain the Centre? Over the last four years, the project has received continuous financial support – but what about the future? The sustainability model, Conteh explained, works around four key points: the website, membership packages, partner contributions and a Centre office established to provide assistance. Can IMPACT partners leverage some level of resourcing to allow the Centre to develop products and services? The answer is yes! Some of the partners, in fact, are already providing valuable support to enable the Centre of Competence to administer and deliver its services in a timely manner.

T-shirt from the IMPACT Centre of Competence

One of the major commitments when setting-up a business, is to find an institution or multiple institutions who are willing to bear the risk and support the enterprise in its initial stages. IMPACT has found its support: representatives from the Bibliothèque National de France (BNF) and the Fundación Biblioteca Virtual Miguel De Cervantes took to the floor to present and discuss the reasons behind their decision to back the Centre. These include the need to sustain present, in-house OCR projects to which the Centre of Competence would provide invaluable support and advice, not to mention the opportunity to exchange expertise and data. In turn, the BNF and the Biblioteca Virtual can provide experience, a wide range of partner support, sponsorship and networks, technology transfer and dissemination, as well as the preparation and dissemination of open source software.

To sign up to the Centre of Competence, email or visit the website at

View the presentation here:

[slideshare id=9875632&doc=alyconteh-111025105405-phpapp01]

and the video here: