In order to create a full-text document, either the original needs to be copied down manually or an OCR software programme can be used. OCR stands for "Optical Character Recognition". It recognises letters or characters in image files and enables them to be used as text.
OCR is primarily suitable for more recent Antiqua script. For the majority of historic materials, however, OCR can only be applied to good effect in individual cases– if at all. It is generally unsuitable for the recognition of manuscripts. German type can sometimes be recognised with special software solutions, e.g. ABBYY Finereader XIX (external link).