Measuring variability in sentence ordering for news summarization

TitleMeasuring variability in sentence ordering for news summarization
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMadnani N, Passonneau R, Ayan N F, Conroy JM, Dorr BJ, Klavans JL, O'Leary DP, Schlesinger JD
Conference NameProceedings of the Eleventh European Workshop on Natural Language Generation
Date Published2007///
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Conference LocationStroudsburg, PA, USA

The issue of sentence ordering is an important one for natural language tasks such as multi-document summarization, yet there has not been a quantitative exploration of the range of acceptable sentence orderings for short texts. We present results of a sentence reordering experiment with three experimental conditions. Our findings indicate a very high degree of variability in the orderings that the eighteen subjects produce. In addition, the variability of reorderings is significantly greater when the initial ordering seen by subjects is different from the original summary. We conclude that evaluation of sentence ordering should use multiple reference orderings. Our evaluation presents several metrics that might prove useful in assessing against multiple references. We conclude with a deeper set of questions: (a) what sorts of independent assessments of quality of the different reference orderings could be made and (b) whether a large enough test set would obviate the need for such independent means of quality assessment.