This paper presents an integrated approach to parsing textual structure in freeform handwritten notes. Text/graphics classification and text layout analysis are classical problems in printed document analysis, but the irregularity in handwriting and content in freeform notes reveals limitations in existing approaches.

We advocate an integrated technique that solves the layout analysis and classification problems simultaneously: the problems are so tightly coupled that it is not possible to solve one without the other for real user notes. We tune and evaluate our approach on a large corpus of unscripted user files and reflect on the difficult recognition scenarios that we have encountered in practice.