Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Text Recognition Algorithm Independent Evaluation (TRAIT)



Afzal A. Godil, Patrick J. Grother, Mei L. Ngan


The report describes and presents the results for text detection and recognition (TRAIT) evaluation in support of forensic investigations of digital media. These im- ages are of interest to NIST’s partner law enforcement agencies that seek to employ text recognition in investigating this area of serious crime. Our first evaluation uses images seized in child exploitation investigations. The primary application is the iden- tification of previously known victims and suspects, as well as detection of new vic- tims and suspects. The presence of text, for example, on a wall poster or on an item of clothing, may allow a location to be identified and linked to prior cases. In total, 3 groups took part in this evaluation over three Phases. The evaluation results show that the initial performance of text recognition is low. However, from Phase 1 to Phase 3, the performance of text recognition algorithms has shown improvement. We hope this evaluation will stir more research in this field.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8199
Report Number


Text detection, text recognition, evaluation, competition, benchmarking


Godil, A. , Grother, P. and Ngan, M. (2017), The Text Recognition Algorithm Independent Evaluation (TRAIT), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 23, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 15, 2017, Updated May 4, 2021