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Looking to Scrap Alpha Numeric values from a Photographed Digital Image

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I am looking for a Java API or algorithm that will take a image file (jpg or gif) and scrap it for any text or numercial values.

Let me explain the situation I am in. I have hundreds of thousands of jpg images which are photographs of an object. The object has a unique identifier (alpha-numeric) printed on the object. The name of the image file does not correlate to the unique identifier in the image. I need to associate the unique identifier in the picture to the image file and later to a record in the database. I want to write a program that will scrap the picture and get the unique identifier, so I can rename the file to the unique identifier from the picture.

If I have to do this manually then this could take months or years with the limited resources, and as you all know, with any software project, it is needed to be completed yesterday.

I have tried a demo OCR API. It worked well for generated graphics, but it did not work well with my photographed images. I will consider paid or open source APIs. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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