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Bootstrapping Named Entity Annotation by Means of Active Machine Learning

TitleBootstrapping Named Entity Annotation by Means of Active Machine Learning
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsOlsson F
UniversityUniversity of Gothenburg
Thesis TypePhD
ISBN Number978-91-87850-37-0
Keywordsmachine learning, named entity

This thesis describes the development and in-depth empirical investigation of a method, called BootMark, for bootstrapping the marking up of named entities in textual documents. The reason for working with documents, as opposed to for instance sentences or phrases, is that the BootMark method is concerned with the creation of corpora. The claim made in the thesis is that BootMark requires a human annotator to manually annotate fewer documents in order to produce a named entity recognizer with a given performance, than would be needed if the documents forming the basis for the recognizer were randomly drawn from the same corpus. The intention is then to use the created named entity recognizer as a pre-tagger and thus eventually turn the manual annotation process into one in which the annotator reviews system-suggested annotations rather than creating new ones from scratch. The BootMark method consists of three phases: (1) Manual annotation of a set of documents; (2) Bootstrapping – active machine learning for the purpose of selecting which document to annotate next; (3) The remaining unannotated documents of the original corpus are marked up using pre-tagging with revision.
Five emerging issues are identified, described and empirically investigated in the thesis. Their common denominator is that they all depend on the realization of the named entity recognition task, and as such, require the context of a practical setting in order to be properly addressed. The emerging issues are related to: (1) the characteristics of the named entity recognition task and the base learners used in conjunction with it; (2) the constitution of the set of documents annotated by the human annotator in phase one in order to start the bootstrapping process; (3) the active selection of the documents to annotate in phase two; (4) the monitoring and termination of the active learning carried out in phase two, including a new intrinsic stopping criterion for committee-based active learning; and (5) the applicability of the named entity recognizer created during phase two as a pre-tagger in phase three.
The outcomes of the empirical investigations concerning the emerging issues support the claim made in the thesis. The results also suggest that while the recognizer produced in phases one and two is as useful for pre-tagging as a recognizer created from randomly selected documents, the applicability of the recognizer as a pre-tagger is best investigated by conducting a user study involving real annotators working on a real named entity recognition task.