Document image binarization with feedback for improving character segmentation

Zheru Chi, Q. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Binarization of gray scale document images is one of the most important steps in automatic document image processing. In this paper, we present a two-stage document image binarization approach, which includes a top-down region-based binarization at the first stage and a neural network based binarization technique for the problematic blocks at the second stage after a feedback checking. Our two-stage approach is particularly effective for binarizing text images of highlighted or marked text. The region-based binarization method is fast and suitable for processing large document images. However, the block effect and regional edge noise are two unavoidable problems resulting in poor character segmentation and recognition. The neural network based classifier can achieve good performance in two-class classification problem such as the binarization of gray level document images. However, it is computationally costly. In our two-stage binarization approach, the feedback criteria are employed to keep the well binarized blocks from the first stage binarization and to re-binarize the problematic blocks at the second stage using the neural network binarizer to improve the character segmentation quality. Experimental results on a number of document images show that our two-stage binarization approach performs better than the single-stage binarization techniques tested in terms of character segmentation quality and computational cost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-309
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Image and Graphics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Document image processing
  • Thresholding
  • Region-based binarization
  • Page segmentation
  • Character segmentation
  • Multi-layer perceptron
  • BP algorithm


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