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Technologies for reading and searching digitized documents have helped academic researchers. However, no one has developed a truly effective engine that can work with handwritten documents, a potentially valuable source of information for many purposes. R. Manmatha developed a system, which scans handwritten documents as images. The system compares an image of a word with images it has encountered in the past to find a likely match. It then identifies the new image as the word associated with the likely match. And making the system faster, perhaps by developing more efficient algorithms, will be particularly important so that it can work with large collections of documents.