The Scratch research programme is carried out by the University of Groningen. It will explore the use of software to recognise the lines and curls of handwritten, scanned documents and letters. The software will ‘learn’ to read handwriting. Scratch is part of a broader research programme, Continuous Access To Cultural Heritage' (Catch) established by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) in 2005.
In 2009 the Scratch programme became the 'Scratch4all' project. The goal of the project is convert the scientific results of the programme into a form usable by heritage institutions. Products will include:
- an administrative environment for heritage institutions, connected to the technical environment (supercomputer) in Groningen
- an interface for normal users that want to search for and locate digitised files of handwritten content.