Named Person Coreference in English News

Oshin Agarwal, Sanjay Subramanian, Ani Nenkova, Dan Roth

People are often entities of interest in tasks such as search and information extraction. In these tasks, the goal is to find as much information as possible about people specified by their name. However in text, some of the references to people are by pronouns (she, his) or generic descriptions (the professor, the German chancellor). It is therefore important that coreference resolution systems are able to link these different types of mentions to the correct person name. Here, we evaluate two state of the art coreference resolution systems on the subtask of Named Person Coreference, in which we are interested in identifying a person mentioned by name, along with all other mentions of the person, by pronoun or generic noun phrase. Our analysis reveals that standard coreference metrics do not reflect adequately the requirements in this task: they do not penalize systems for not identifying any mentions by name and they reward systems even if systems find correctly mentions to the same entity but fail to link these to a proper name (she--the student---no name). We introduce new metrics for evaluating named person coreference that address these discrepancies. We present a simple rule-based named entity recognition driven system, which outperforms the current state-of-the-art systems on these task-specific metrics and performs on par with them on traditional coreference evaluations. Finally, we present similar evaluation for coreference resolution of other named entities and show that the rule-based approach is effective only for person named coreference, not other named entity types.

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