Computer Laboratory

Technical reports

Latent semantic sentence clustering for multi-document summarization

Johanna Geiß

July 2011, 156 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted April 2011 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, St. Edmund’s College.


This thesis investigates the applicability of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) to sentence clustering for Multi-Document Summarization (MDS). In contrast to more shallow approaches like measuring similarity of sentences by word overlap in a traditional vector space model, LSA takes word usage patterns into account. So far LSA has been successfully applied to different Information Retrieval (IR) tasks like information filtering and document classification (Dumais, 2004). In the course of this research, different parameters essential to sentence clustering using a hierarchical agglomerative clustering algorithm (HAC) in general and in combination with LSA in particular are investigated. These parameters include, inter alia, information about the type of vocabulary, the size of the semantic space and the optimal numbers of dimensions to be used in LSA. These parameters have not previously been studied and evaluated in combination with sentence clustering (chapter 4).

This thesis also presents the first gold standard for sentence clustering in MDS. To be able to evaluate sentence clusterings directly and classify the influence of the different parameters on the quality of sentence clustering, an evaluation strategy is developed that includes gold standard comparison using different evaluation measures (chapter 5). Therefore the first compound gold standard for sentence clustering was created. Several human annotators were asked to group similar sentences into clusters following guidelines created for this purpose (section 5.4). The evaluation of the human generated clusterings revealed that the human annotators agreed on clustering sentences above chance. Analysis of the strategies adopted by the human annotators revealed two groups – hunters and gatherers – who differ clearly in the structure and size of the clusters they created (chapter 6).

On the basis of the evaluation strategy the parameters for sentence clustering and LSA are optimized (chapter 7). A final experiment in which the performance of LSA in sentence clustering for MDS is compared to the simple word matching approach of the traditional Vector Space Model (VSM) revealed that LSA produces better quality sentence clusters for MDS than VSM.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Gei{\ss}, Johanna},
  title = 	 {{Latent semantic sentence clustering for multi-document
  year = 	 2011,
  month = 	 jul,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-802}