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Web-Based Document Image Processing
Increasing numbers of research libraries are turning to the Internet for electronic interlibrary loan and for document delivery to patrons. This has been made possible through the widespread adoption of software such as Ariel and DocView. Ariel, a product of the Research Libraries Group, converts paper-based documents to monochrome bitmapped images, and delivers them over the Internet. The National Library of Medicine's DocView is primarily designed for library patrons to receive, display and manage documents received from Ariel systems. While libraries and their patrons are beginning to reap the benefits of this new technology, barriers exist, e.g., differences in image file format, that lead to difficulties in the use of library document information. To research how to overcome such barriers, the Communications Engineering Branch of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, an R&D division of NLM, has developed a web site called the DocMorph Server. This is part of an ongoing intramural R&D program in document imaging that has spanned many aspects of electronic document conversion and preservation, Internet document transmission and document usage. The DocMorph Server web site is designed to fill two roles. First, in a role that will benefit both libraries and their patrons, it allows Internet users to upload scanned image files for conversion to alternative formats, thereby enabling wider delivery and easier usage of library document information. Second, the DocMorph Server provides the design team an active test bed for evaluating the effectiveness and utility of new document image processing algorithms and functions, so that they may be evaluated for possible inclusion in other image processing software products being developed at NLM or elsewhere. This paper describes the design of the prototype DocMorph Server and the image processing functions being implemented on it.