Improving Document Clustering by Removing Unnatural Language

Myungha Jang, Jinho D. Choi, James Allan


Technical documents contain a fair amount of unnatural language, such as tables, formulas, and pseudo-code. Unnatural language can bean important factor of confusing existing NLP tools. This paper presents an effective method of distinguishing unnatural language from natural language, and evaluates the impact of un-natural language detection on NLP tasks such as document clustering. We view this problem as an information extraction task and build a multiclass classification model identifying unnatural language components into four categories. First, we create a new annotated corpus by collecting slides and papers in various for-mats, PPT, PDF, and HTML, where unnatural language components are annotated into four categories. We then explore features available from plain text to build a statistical model that can handle any format as long as it is converted into plain text. Our experiments show that re-moving unnatural language components gives an absolute improvement in document cluster-ing by up to 15%. Our corpus and tool are publicly available.

Venue / Year

Proceedings of the EMNLP Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (WNUT'17) / 2017


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