Project facts

Duration: 2015-11-01 - 2017-10-31
Project coordinator: Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes
Project consortium: Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain); A2iA (France); Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Netherlands)
Funding bodies: JPI CH; European Commission
Subject areas: History, Libraries, Methods - Procedures, Objects, Tangible Heritage, Technologies - Scientific processes
Budget: 409.746,00€


HIMANIS aimed at developing cost-effective solutions for querying large sets of handwriting document images. To this end, innovative keyword spotting, indexing and search methods have been developed, tested, adapted and/or scaled up to meet the real-world conditions that were required.

HIMANIS has been associated with Computer Science (A2iA, UPVLC and RUG), Humanities (IRHT) and Cultural Heritage (The European Library, the Archives Nationales of France and Bibliothèque Nationale de France) institutions and has produced technology to generate new, research-based knowledge from historical manuscripts.

As a challenging and particularly interesting case study, the large collection of registers produced by the French royal chancery (14th-15th c.) has been used as a testbed.

Implementing user feedback has also increased our understanding of the meanings that it holds for people and how they perceive, use and interpret it, thereby meeting societal challenges in promoting use and re-use.

Impacts & Results

The project produced the following outcomes :

  • A new indexing/searching technology for historical manuscripts, brought to the market by A2iA.
  • A new paradigm to study our historical heritage, as conveyed by manuscripts, by using full-text search technology
  • A new vision of the rise of nation-states in Europe via a new study of the corpus under this paradigm.
  •  Enhanced access to these resources has allowed sustainable use and management of this important cultural resource by understanding the meanings that it holds for people and how they perceive, use and interpret it, and meet societal challenges in promoting its use and re-use.
  • This path has helped to create new perceptions of the Past, which is erroneously seen as dark and brutal. It has helped to balance different opinions and to identify in the medieval Past some of the roots of Renaissance humanism, and to emphasize and promote its effective, positive aspects.
  • The project objectives achievement has unleashed the economic potential of European cultural heritage enabling the emergence of new services and business models, and providing a better way to handle this information for educational and scientific institutions.
  • The project produced important impact in the area of content providers of cultural heritage for the creation of their digital collections.


Banner: Miniature of a marriage. Image taken from f. 22 of Cutting from a manuscript. @Europeana