Information Status Distinctions and Referring Expressions: An Empirical Study of References to People in News Summaries

Advaith Siddharthan, Ani Nenkova, Kathleen McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


While there has been much theoretical work on using various information status distinctions to explain the form of references in written text, there have been few studies that attempt to automatically learn these distinctions for generating references in the context of computer regenerated text. In this paper, we present a model for generating references to people in news summaries that incorporates insights from both theory and a corpus analysis of human written summaries. In particular, our model captures how two properties of a person referred to in the summary -- familiarity to the reader and global salience in the news story -- affect the content and form of the initial reference to that person in a summary. We demonstrate that these two distinctions can be learnt from a typical input for multi-document summarisation and that they can be used to make regeneration decisions that improve the quality of extractive summaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-842
Number of pages31
JournalComputational Linguistics
Issue number4
Early online date28 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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