Jan 30 2018 cs.CL
Crisis responders are increasingly using social media, data and other digital sources of information to build a situational understanding of a crisis situation in order to design an effective response. However with the increased availability of such data, the challenge of identifying relevant information from it also increases. This paper presents a successful automatic approach to handling this problem. Messages are filtered for informativeness based on a definition of the concept drawn from prior research and crisis response experts. Informative messages are tagged for actionable data -- for example, people in need, threats to rescue efforts, changes in environment, and so on. In all, eight categories of actionability are identified. The two components -- informativeness and actionability classification -- are packaged together as an openly-available tool called Emina (Emergent Informativeness and Actionability).
Existing studies of how information diffuses across social networks have thus far concentrated on analysing and recovering the spread of deterministic innovations such as URLs, hashtags, and group membership. However investigating how mentions of real-world entities appear and spread has yet to be explored, largely due to the computationally intractable nature of performing large-scale entity extraction. In this paper we present, to the best of our knowledge, one of the first pieces of work to closely examine the diffusion of named entities on social media, using Reddit as our case study platform. We first investigate how named entities can be accurately recognised and extracted from discussion posts. We then use these extracted entities to study the patterns of entity cascades and how the probability of a user adopting an entity (i.e. mentioning it) is associated with exposures to the entity. We put these pieces together by presenting a parallelised diffusion model that can forecast the probability of entity adoption, finding that the influence of adoption between users can be characterised by their prior interactions -- as opposed to whether the users propagated entity-adoptions beforehand. Our findings have important implications for researchers studying influence and language, and for community analysts who wish to understand entity-level influence dynamics.
Aug 18 2017 cs.CL
Stance classification determines the attitude, or stance, in a (typically short) text. The task has powerful applications, such as the detection of fake news or the automatic extraction of attitudes toward entities or events in the media. This paper describes a surprisingly simple and efficient classification approach to open stance classification in Twitter, for rumour and veracity classification. The approach profits from a novel set of automatically identifiable problem-specific features, which significantly boost classifier accuracy and achieve above state-of-the-art results on recent benchmark datasets. This calls into question the value of using complex sophisticated models for stance classification without first doing informed feature extraction.
Media is full of false claims. Even Oxford Dictionaries named "post-truth" as the word of 2016. This makes it more important than ever to build systems that can identify the veracity of a story, and the kind of discourse there is around it. RumourEval is a SemEval shared task that aims to identify and handle rumours and reactions to them, in text. We present an annotation scheme, a large dataset covering multiple topics - each having their own families of claims and replies - and use these to pose two concrete challenges as well as the results achieved by participants on these challenges.
Jan 12 2017 cs.CL
Named Entity Recognition (NER) is a key NLP task, which is all the more challenging on Web and user-generated content with their diverse and continuously changing language. This paper aims to quantify how this diversity impacts state-of-the-art NER methods, by measuring named entity (NE) and context variability, feature sparsity, and their effects on precision and recall. In particular, our findings indicate that NER approaches struggle to generalise in diverse genres with limited training data. Unseen NEs, in particular, play an important role, which have a higher incidence in diverse genres such as social media than in more regular genres such as newswire. Coupled with a higher incidence of unseen features more generally and the lack of large training corpora, this leads to significantly lower F1 scores for diverse genres as compared to more regular ones. We also find that leading systems rely heavily on surface forms found in training data, having problems generalising beyond these, and offer explanations for this observation.
Aug 09 2016 cs.CL
A plethora of vector-space representations for words is currently available, which is growing. These consist of fixed-length vectors containing real values, which represent a word. The result is a representation upon which the power of many conventional information processing and data mining techniques can be brought to bear, as long as the representations are designed with some forethought and fit certain constraints. This paper details desiderata for the design of vector space representations of words.
Nov 11 2015 cs.CL
This paper describes a pilot NER system for Twitter, comprising the USFD system entry to the W-NUT 2015 NER shared task. The goal is to correctly label entities in a tweet dataset, using an inventory of ten types. We employ structured learning, drawing on gazetteers taken from Linked Data, and on unsupervised clustering features, and attempting to compensate for stylistic and topic drift - a key challenge in social media text. Our result is competitive; we provide an analysis of the components of our methodology, and an examination of the target dataset in the context of this task.
Oct 28 2014 cs.CL
Applying natural language processing for mining and intelligent information access to tweets (a form of microblog) is a challenging, emerging research area. Unlike carefully authored news text and other longer content, tweets pose a number of new challenges, due to their short, noisy, context-dependent, and dynamic nature. Information extraction from tweets is typically performed in a pipeline, comprising consecutive stages of language identification, tokenisation, part-of-speech tagging, named entity recognition and entity disambiguation (e.g. with respect to DBpedia). In this work, we describe a new Twitter entity disambiguation dataset, and conduct an empirical analysis of named entity recognition and disambiguation, investigating how robust a number of state-of-the-art systems are on such noisy texts, what the main sources of error are, and which problems should be further investigated to improve the state of the art.
Mar 20 2014 cs.CL
We describe the Clinical TempEval task which is currently in preparation for the SemEval-2015 evaluation exercise. This task involves identifying and describing events, times and the relations between them in clinical text. Six discrete subtasks are included, focusing on recognising mentions of times and events, describing those mentions for both entity types, identifying the relation between an event and the document creation time, and identifying narrative container relations.
Apr 30 2013 cs.CL
TimeML is an XML-based schema for annotating temporal information over discourse. The standard has been used to annotate a variety of resources and is followed by a number of tools, the creation of which constitute hundreds of thousands of man-hours of research work. However, the current state of resources is such that many are not valid, or do not produce valid output, or contain ambiguous or custom additions and removals. Difficulties arising from these variances were highlighted in the TempEval-3 exercise, which included its own extra stipulations over conventional TimeML as a response. To unify the state of current resources, and to make progress toward easy adoption of its current incarnation ISO-TimeML, this paper introduces TimeML-strict: a valid, unambiguous, and easy-to-process subset of TimeML. We also introduce three resources -- a schema for TimeML-strict; a validator tool for TimeML-strict, so that one may ensure documents are in the correct form; and a repair tool that corrects common invalidating errors and adds disambiguating markup in order to convert documents from the laxer TimeML standard to TimeML-strict.
Question answering involves developing methods to extract useful information from large collections of documents. This is done with specialised search engines such as Answer Finder. The aim of Answer Finder is to provide an answer to a question rather than a page listing related documents that may contain the correct answer. So, a question such as "How tall is the Eiffel Tower" would simply return "325m" or "1,063ft". Our task was to build on the current version of Answer Finder by improving information retrieval, and also improving the pre-processing involved in question series analysis.
Jun 26 2012 cs.CL
We describe the TempEval-3 task which is currently in preparation for the SemEval-2013 evaluation exercise. The aim of TempEval is to advance research on temporal information processing. TempEval-3 follows on from previous TempEval events, incorporating: a three-part task structure covering event, temporal expression and temporal relation extraction; a larger dataset; and single overall task quality scores.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
Automatic temporal ordering of events described in discourse has been of great interest in recent years. Event orderings are conveyed in text via va rious linguistic mechanisms including the use of expressions such as "before", "after" or "during" that explicitly assert a temporal relation -- temporal signals. In this paper, we investigate the role of temporal signals in temporal relation extraction and provide a quantitative analysis of these expres sions in the TimeBank annotated corpus.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
This paper describes the University of Sheffield's entry in the 2011 TAC KBP entity linking and slot filling tasks. We chose to participate in the monolingual entity linking task, the monolingual slot filling task and the temporal slot filling tasks. We set out to build a framework for experimentation with knowledge base population. This framework was created, and applied to multiple KBP tasks. We demonstrated that our proposed framework is effective and suitable for collaborative development efforts, as well as useful in a teaching environment. Finally we present results that, while very modest, provide improvements an order of magnitude greater than our 2010 attempt.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
Temporal information conveyed by language describes how the world around us changes through time. Events, durations and times are all temporal elements that can be viewed as intervals. These intervals are sometimes temporally related in text. Automatically determining the nature of such relations is a complex and unsolved problem. Some words can act as "signals" which suggest a temporal ordering between intervals. In this paper, we use these signal words to improve the accuracy of a recent approach to classification of temporal links.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
In this paper we present RTMML, a markup language for the tenses of verbs and temporal relations between verbs. There is a richness to tense in language that is not fully captured by existing temporal annotation schemata. Following Reichenbach we present an analysis of tense in terms of abstract time points, with the aim of supporting automated processing of tense and temporal relations in language. This allows for precise reasoning about tense in documents, and the deduction of temporal relations between the times and verbal events in a discourse. We define the syntax of RTMML, and demonstrate the markup in a range of situations.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
We present CAVaT, a tool that performs Corpus Analysis and Validation for TimeML. CAVaT is an open source, modular checking utility for statistical analysis of features specific to temporally-annotated natural language corpora. It provides reporting, highlights salient links between a variety of general and time-specific linguistic features, and also validates a temporal annotation to ensure that it is logically consistent and sufficiently annotated. Uniquely, CAVaT provides analysis specific to TimeML-annotated temporal information. TimeML is a standard for annotating temporal information in natural language text. In this paper, we present the reporting part of CAVaT, and then its error-checking ability, including the workings of several novel TimeML document verification methods. This is followed by the execution of some example tasks using the tool to show relations between times, events, signals and links. We also demonstrate inconsistencies in a TimeML corpus (TimeBank) that have been detected with CAVaT.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
Automatic annotation of temporal expressions is a research challenge of great interest in the field of information extraction. Gold standard temporally-annotated resources are limited in size, which makes research using them difficult. Standards have also evolved over the past decade, so not all temporally annotated data is in the same format. We vastly increase available human-annotated temporal expression resources by converting older format resources to TimeML/TIMEX3. This task is difficult due to differing annotation methods. We present a robust conversion tool and a new, large temporal expression resource. Using this, we evaluate our conversion process by using it as training data for an existing TimeML annotation tool, achieving a 0.87 F1 measure -- better than any system in the TempEval-2 timex recognition exercise.
Automated answering of natural language questions is an interesting and useful problem to solve. Question answering (QA) systems often perform information retrieval at an initial stage. Information retrieval (IR) performance, provided by engines such as Lucene, places a bound on overall system performance. For example, no answer bearing documents are retrieved at low ranks for almost 40% of questions. In this paper, answer texts from previous QA evaluations held as part of the Text REtrieval Conferences (TREC) are paired with queries and analysed in an attempt to identify performance-enhancing words. These words are then used to evaluate the performance of a query expansion method. Data driven extension words were found to help in over 70% of difficult questions. These words can be used to improve and evaluate query expansion methods. Simple blind relevance feedback (RF) was correctly predicted as unlikely to help overall performance, and an possible explanation is provided for its low value in IR for QA.
Mar 23 2012 cs.CL
We describe the University of Sheffield system used in the TempEval-2 challenge, USFD2. The challenge requires the automatic identification of temporal entities and relations in text. USFD2 identifies and anchors temporal expressions, and also attempts two of the four temporal relation assignment tasks. A rule-based system picks out and anchors temporal expressions, and a maximum entropy classifier assigns temporal link labels, based on features that include descriptions of associated temporal signal words. USFD2 identified temporal expressions successfully, and correctly classified their type in 90% of cases. Determining the relation between an event and time expression in the same sentence was performed at 63% accuracy, the second highest score in this part of the challenge.