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Generating appropriate referring expressions in news summaries

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I formalise the trade-off between describing entities and events within the space constraints of a summary. Summarising ten 400-500 word news reports in 100 words involves heavy information compression. Important events need to be summarised, while at the same time, enough background information needs to be provided about the protagonists to ensure that the reader can relate them to the story. I present a theory of how much descriptions can be compressed based on a theory of cognitive status that classifies references and referents as discourse new/discourse old, hearer new/hearer old and major character/minor character.

(Joint work with Ani Nenkova and Kathleen McKeown)

This talk is part of the NLIP Seminar Series series.

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