Product name recognition and normalization in internet forums
Date of Issue2014
School of Computer Engineering
Collecting user feedback of products is a common practice for the product providers to better understand consumers' concerns or requirements and to further improve their products or marketing strategies. Even though dedicated review sites (e.g., Epinions, Amazon, CNET reviews) supply the relatively straightforward approach as user feedback about one specific product is usually well organized in a list, collecting user feedback from Internet forums is challenging. One reason is that user feedback about a product often spreads in different discussion threads in forums. More importantly, users often mention product names with a large number of name variations. On the other hand, Internet forums cover feedback from many more users. Thus, user feedback in more comprehensive aspects can be obtained. We propose a method named Gren to recognize and normalize mobile phone names from Internet forums. Instead of directly recognizing phone names from sentences as in most named entity recognition tasks, we propose an approach to generating candidate names as the first step. The candidate names capture short forms, spelling variations, and nicknames of products, but are not noise free. To predict whether a candidate name mention in a sentence indeed refers to a specific phone model, a CRF based name recognizer is developed. The CRF (Conditional Random Field) model is trained by using a large set of sentences obtained in a semiautomatic manner with minimal manual labeling effort. Lastly, a rule-based name normalization component maps a recognized name to its formal form. For evaluation, we randomly select 20 threads related to 20 mobile phones from an Internet forum. Each thread contains about 100 post messages. We manually labeled the mobile phone name mentions in these posts and mapped the true mentions to their formal names. In total, about 4000 sentences have been manually labeled which contain about 1000 phone name mentions. Evaluated on labeled data, Gren outperforms all baseline methods. Specifically, it achieves precision and recall of 0.918 and 0.875 respectively, with the best feature setting. Comparing to Stanford NER which is considered as a strong baseline, 134% improvement on recall is observed. We also provide detailed analysis of the intermediate results obtained by each of the three components in Gren and observe that features from Blown clustering are the most effective features. Removing them results in the largest degradation in F1 from 0.896 to 0.804. Two implications for NER tasks are further made based on our observation. First, if candidate named entities are able to be pre generated, a large number of training examples may be generated at very low cost for manual annotation. Second, if we can segment the sentences and pre-generate the text chunks, we are able to rewrite the sentences. The rewriting enables us to take surrounding words of a candidate named entity to be its context in a more natural manner.
DRNTU::Engineering::Computer science and engineering