Central to the DAS workshops series is the emphasis on complete document analysis systemsí demos and papers that present applications of document analysis research on real-life problems. As such, the DAS series stands at the crossroad between academia and industry, and is a focal point for professionals in the area.


Following the success of its predecessors, DAS 2004 brought together more than 70 representatives of both academia and industry from 19 countries. The programme of the workshop included 31 oral presentations and 22 posters selected from 79 submissions. These were coupled with group

Workshop Report:DAS 2004


Simone Marinai

Andreas Dengel

Text Box: 6th International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems
7-10 September 2004, Florence, Italy 
Report prepared by:  Dimosthenis Karatzas

Picture courtesy of Koichi Kise

discussions on selected topics and two invited talks on image quality issues for historical documents and the future of document imaging.


The group discussions are considered by many as the most interesting and valuable time in DAS. Apart from giving a chance to participants to exchange views and ideas, the new topics selected for discussion each time reflect the current developments in the area, while reappearing topics effectively pinpoint problems that are still unsolved. The five topics discussed in DAS 2004 were Performance Analysis and Evaluation, Document Structure and Semantics, Historical Document Analysis, Camera-Based and Colour Document Analysis, and Future Applications of Document Analysis. The reports of the working groups are available online at the DAS web site:www.dsi.unifi.it/DAS04.


DAS 2004 identified new trends and suggested new directions in the field of Document Image Analysis. Perhaps the most interesting observation has to do with the large number of papers, as well as a focused discussion group and an invited talk, related to digital libraries and the processing of historical documents. The number of papers dealing with these problems has gone up, from only a couple of papers in DAS 2002, to 17 papers in DAS 2004.


There are a number of reasons contributing to this shift, most importantly the increased number of research projects funded by the EU and the NFS on topics related to historical documents and digital libraries, which manifested itself through the fact that most of the papers related to these topics were linked to such research projects.


This comes as no surprise, since the Document Analysis field has matured, reaching a certain level of knowledge, which makes it confident enough to take on projects related to historical documents and digital libraries, and tackle inherent problems such as the analysis of colour documents. On the other hand, the focus on culture and heritage by the EU and NSF seemed to be catalytic to the allocation of resources to attack these problems through large scale projects. Last but not least, focused events, like the recent DIAL workshop organised by H. Baird and V. Govindaraju in Palo Alto, helped shape this new research direction, which fortunately emerged as a trend in this yearís DAS in Florence, a city of significant artistic and cultural heritage.


The rest of the papers presented in DAS 2004 described new developments in traditional subjects like handwritten document analysis and layout analysis, but also revealed a continuation of interest on Web Document Analysis, a really strong topic two years ago. Finally a focused section on Document Analysis Systems, gave a taste of the state of the art of document analysis applications, which are continuously moving away from the document analysis specialist and focused on the end user.


Concluding, DAS 2004 in Florence, on par with its predecessors, drew together high quality contributions, inspiring invited talks, and exciting discussions through working groups, arranged in a flawless programme. It has been a valuable experience for the participants, and maintained the reputation of the DAS series as a highly recommended event to participate to, for everybody interested in document image analysis.

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