Information extraction

information extraction (IE), information retrieval (IR) is the task of automatically extracting structured information from unstructured and/or semi-structured machine-readable documents and other electronically represented sources. In most of the cases this activity concerns processing human language texts by means of natural language processing (NLP). Recent activities in multimedia document processing like automatic annotation and content extraction out of images/audio/video/documents could be seen as information extraction

Due to the difficulty of the problem, current approaches to IE (IR) focus on narrowly restricted domains. An example is the extraction from newswire reports of corporate mergers, such as denoted by the formal relation:

from an online news sentence such as:

A broad goal of IE is to allow computation to be done on the previously unstructured data. A more specific goal is to allow logical reasoning to draw inferences based on the logical content of the input data. Structured data is semantically well-defined data from a chosen target domain, interpreted with respect to category and context.

Information Extraction is the part of a greater puzzle which deals with the problem of devising automatic methods for text management, beyond its transmission, storage and display. The discipline of information retrieval (IR)[1] has developed automatic methods, typically of a statistical flavor, for indexing large document collections and classifying documents. Another complementary approach is that of natural language processing (NLP) which has solved the problem of modelling human language processing with considerable success when taking into account the magnitude of the task. In terms of both difficulty and emphasis, IE deals with tasks in between both IR and NLP. In terms of input, IE assumes the existence of a set of documents in which each document follows a template, i.e. describes one or more entities or events in a manner that is similar to those in other documents but differing in the details. An example, consider a group of newswire articles on Latin American terrorism with each article presumed to be based upon one or more terroristic acts. We also define for any given IE task a template, which is a(or a set of) case frame(s) to hold the information contained in a single document. For the terrorism example, a template would have slots corresponding to the perpetrator, victim, and weapon of the terroristic act, and the date on which the event happened. An IE system for this problem is required to “understand” an attack article only enough to find data corresponding to the slots in this template.

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