"Optimal combination of document binarization techniques using a self-organizing map neural network"
Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 20, Issue 1, pp. 11-24, 2007
This paper proposes an integrated system for the binarization of normal and degraded printed documents for the purpose of visualization and recognition of text characters. In degraded documents, where considerable background noise or variation in contrast and illumination exists, there are many pixels that cannot be easily classified as foreground or background pixels. For this reason, it is necessary to perform document binarization by combining and taking into account the results of a set of binarization techniques, especially for document pixels that have high vagueness. The proposed binarization technique takes advantage of the benefits of a set of selected binarization algorithms by combining their results using a Kohonen self-organizing map neural network. Specifically, in the first stage the best parameter values for each independent binarization technique are estimated. In the second stage and in order to take advantage of the binarization information given by the independent techniques, the neural network is fed by the binarization results obtained by those techniques using their estimated best parameter values. This procedure is adaptive because the estimation of the best parameter values depends on the content of images. The proposed binarization technique is extensively tested with a variety of degraded document images. Several experimental and comparative results, exhibiting the performance of the proposed technique, are presented.