Entity Discovery and Assignment for Opinion Mining Applications

author: Bing Liu, Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
published: Sept. 14, 2009,   recorded: July 2009,   views: 4064

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Opinion mining became an important topic of study in recent years due to its wide range of applications. There are also many companies offering opinion mining services. One problem that has not been studied so far is the assignment of entities that have been talked about in each sentence. Let us use forum discussions about products as an example to make the problem concrete. In a typical discussion post, the author may give opinions on multiple products and also compare them. The issue is how to detect what products have been talked about in each sentence. If the sentence contains the product names, they need to be identified. We call this problem entity discovery. If the product names are not explicitly mentioned in the sentence but are implied due to the use of pronouns and language conventions, we need to infer the products. We call this problem entity assignment. These problems are important because without knowing what products each sentence talks about the opinion mined from the sentence is of little use. In this paper, we study these problems and propose two effective methods to solve the problems. Entity discovery is based on pattern discovery and entity assignment is based on mining of comparative sentences. Experimental results using a large number of forum posts demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique. Our system has also been successfully tested in a commercial setting.

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