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We discuss two named-entity recognition models which use characters and character-grams either exclusively or as an important part of their data representation. The first model is a character-level HMM with minimal context information, and the second model is a maximum-entropy conditional markov model with substantially richer context features. Our best model achieves an overall F of 86.07% on the English test data (92.31% on the development data). This number represents a 25% error reduction over the same model without word-internal (substring) features.