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OCR Abbrev. for optical character recognition. A process in which a machine scans, recognizes, and encodes information printed or typed in alphanumeric characters. The first devices, marketed around 1955, could only recognize a limited repertoire of characters that had to be produced in a font that was optimized for machine recognition but was still recognizable by people. By the mid-1970s OCR A font and OCR B font were the dominant fonts and were close to a normal letter-press appearance. Modern OCR equipment can read most typed or printed documents and high recognition rates are achieved (see ICR). OCR A and B fonts are still used for applications requiring high accuracy and in cases when context cannot aid recognition. In some instances printed information intended for MICR (magnetic-ink character recognition) is read by optical recognition techniques, as with some check readers associated with bank teller terminals.

OCR software is now readily available for many low cost scanners giving good recognition rates. Input devices and software that can recognize handwritten characters are also becoming available. The accuracy of such systems is not yet sufficient for them to be widely adopted except in handheld devices (see PDA).

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OCR Computing optical character recognition (or reader)
• Ordo (or Ordinis) Cisterciensium Reformatorum (Latin: (of the) Order of Reformed Cistercians; Trappists)

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