Syntactic Simplification for Improving Content Selection in Multi-Document Summarization

Siddharthan, Advaith; Nenkova, Ani and McKeown, Kathleen (2004). Syntactic Simplification for Improving Content Selection in Multi-Document Summarization. In: Proceedings of the 20th international conference on Computational Linguistics, ACL, Stroudsburg PA, article no. 896.




In this paper, we explore the use of automatic syntactic simplification for improving content selection in multi-document summarization. In particular, we show how simplifying parentheticals by removing relative clauses and appositives results in improved sentence clustering, by forcing clustering based on central rather than background information. We argue that the inclusion of parenthetical information in a summary is a reference-generation task rather than a content-selection one, and implement a baseline reference rewriting module. We perform our evaluations on the test sets from the 2003 and 2004 Document Understanding Conference and report that simplifying parentheticals results in significant improvement on the automated evaluation metric Rouge.

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