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The perils of OCR
Paul Bryant-Quinn

Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 546
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Those of you who have had occasion to look at 19th-century newspapers will no doubt have come across OCR (optical character recognition). The technology is getting better all the time, and the scans save you hours of copying.

However, the results can on occasion be unintentionally funny. As, for example, the following, taken from the foreign news section of The Tablet for 22nd February 1879:

A grand attack is expected daily from the Zulus, who are concentrating their forces in the direction of Ekowe, where Colonel Pearson's force occupies entrenched positions.

The gravity of the position of affairs is not exaggerated. It is expected that military operations will be confined to maintaining the status quo, and guarding the strategical position on the border until the troops are strongly reinforced from England.

A body of zoo volunteers from Port Elizabeth will relieve the 88th Regiment at King William's Town.

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Joined: 26 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Cardiff
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Zoo volunteers? Now I'm intrigued .... does this mean the animals or a company of Johnny Morris lookalikes armed with brooms and buckets?

"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job." Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1457
Location: Wales
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Johnny Morris. Now there's a name to conjure up memories.

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The perils of OCR
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