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Adam Matthew Digital announces full-text search technology to be released within its digital manuscript collections for teaching and research

September 14, 2017

Artificial intelligence transforms discoverability of 17th and 18th century manuscripts using Handwritten Text Recognition

Marlborough, UK. Adam Matthew Digital is the first primary source publisher to utilise artificial intelligence to offer transformative search capabilities with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for its manuscript collections.

The first new collection available with this enhancement is Colonial America, Module III: The American Revolution. Sourced from The National Archives UK, Colonial America offers access to thousands of documents on North America from 1606-1822. Described as an ‘indispensable’ resource for researchers of the early-modern Atlantic world and winner of Library Journal’s ‘Best Reference’ Award, scholars and researchers have clamoured for access to this material for years. Now for the first time, all handwritten documents within the entire Colonial America series are full-text searchable.

"HTR not only significantly enhances the already tremendous Colonial America resource, but with such innovation, the potential for the future of pre-19th century academic digitisation is huge!"- Dean Hanlon, Partnerships Manager, The National Archives, UK

The HTR application uses complex algorithms and artificial intelligence to determine possible combinations of characters in manuscripts. This enables relevant handwritten text to be identified at document level, allowing users to easily navigate between highlighted search results.

HTR has been one of the final holy grails; to make digitised manuscript content fully searchable is transformative. This technology will dramatically change teaching and research possibilities.
To see accurate search results from 17th century manuscript material is the most exciting use of technology I have seen in our industry.”- Khal Rudin, Managing Director, Adam Matthew Digital

This game-changing technology is set to be released in both new and selected existing collections published by Adam Matthew Digital, including Medical Services and Warfare, East India Company and Mass Observation Online.

To find out more or to request a free 30-day trial of Colonial America to view HTR in action, visit, contact or watch the demonstration video.


About Adam Matthew Digital ( Adam Matthew Digital, an imprint of SAGE Publishing, is an award-winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to twentieth century history, literature and culture. Their aim is to enhance learning environments, and aid scholarly research by making important primary sources available to a global audience. 

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