Integrating Paper and Digital Documents

  • Heather Brown
  • Peter Robinson


This chapter outlines two very different approaches to using physical paper documents as natural input devices to computers. The DigitalDesk is a computer-enhanced desk that uses a video camera to detect and recognize paper documents, while Xerox’s “Intelligent Paper” is specially produced paper containing invisible marks that uniquely identify each sheet. Both allow the visible contents of the paper to be matched to a corresponding digital document. This, in turn, allows natural actions, such as pointing to an item on a page, to be used to initiate computer actions. The overall effect is to blur the conventional distinction between paper and digital documents.

The chapter describes the basic mechanisms used in the two approaches and looks briefly at some existing and potential applications. It then looks in more detail at a specific application area: allowing printed documents to act as natural interfaces to the additional information found in digital versions encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines.


Menu Item Paper Document Digital Document Electronic Text Physical Paper 
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© Springer-Verlag London 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Brown
  • Peter Robinson

There are no affiliations available

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