Learning to Extract Keyphrases from Text

Research paper by Peter D. Turney

Indexed on: 08 Dec '02Published on: 08 Dec '02Published in: Computer Science - Learning


Many academic journals ask their authors to provide a list of about five to fifteen key words, to appear on the first page of each article. Since these key words are often phrases of two or more words, we prefer to call them keyphrases. There is a surprisingly wide variety of tasks for which keyphrases are useful, as we discuss in this paper. Recent commercial software, such as Microsoft's Word 97 and Verity's Search 97, includes algorithms that automatically extract keyphrases from documents. In this paper, we approach the problem of automatically extracting keyphrases from text as a supervised learning task. We treat a document as a set of phrases, which the learning algorithm must learn to classify as positive or negative examples of keyphrases. Our first set of experiments applies the C4.5 decision tree induction algorithm to this learning task. The second set of experiments applies the GenEx algorithm to the task. We developed the GenEx algorithm specifically for this task. The third set of experiments examines the performance of GenEx on the task of metadata generation, relative to the performance of Microsoft's Word 97. The fourth and final set of experiments investigates the performance of GenEx on the task of highlighting, relative to Verity's Search 97. The experimental results support the claim that a specialized learning algorithm (GenEx) can generate better keyphrases than a general-purpose learning algorithm (C4.5) and the non-learning algorithms that are used in commercial software (Word 97 and Search 97).