Christopher Brown


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Practical, Efficient, and Customizable Active Learning for Named Entity Recognition in the Digital Humanities
Alexander Erdmann | David Joseph Wrisley | Benjamin Allen | Christopher Brown | Sophie Cohen-Bodénès | Micha Elsner | Yukun Feng | Brian Joseph | Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel | Marie-Catherine de Marneffe
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Scholars in inter-disciplinary fields like the Digital Humanities are increasingly interested in semantic annotation of specialized corpora. Yet, under-resourced languages, imperfect or noisily structured data, and user-specific classification tasks make it difficult to meet their needs using off-the-shelf models. Manual annotation of large corpora from scratch, meanwhile, can be prohibitively expensive. Thus, we propose an active learning solution for named entity recognition, attempting to maximize a custom model’s improvement per additional unit of manual annotation. Our system robustly handles any domain or user-defined label set and requires no external resources, enabling quality named entity recognition for Humanities corpora where such resources are not available. Evaluating on typologically disparate languages and datasets, we reduce required annotation by 20-60% and greatly outperform a competitive active learning baseline.


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Challenges and Solutions for Latin Named Entity Recognition
Alexander Erdmann | Christopher Brown | Brian Joseph | Mark Janse | Petra Ajaka | Micha Elsner | Marie-Catherine de Marneffe
Proceedings of the Workshop on Language Technology Resources and Tools for Digital Humanities (LT4DH)

Although spanning thousands of years and genres as diverse as liturgy, historiography, lyric and other forms of prose and poetry, the body of Latin texts is still relatively sparse compared to English. Data sparsity in Latin presents a number of challenges for traditional Named Entity Recognition techniques. Solving such challenges and enabling reliable Named Entity Recognition in Latin texts can facilitate many down-stream applications, from machine translation to digital historiography, enabling Classicists, historians, and archaeologists for instance, to track the relationships of historical persons, places, and groups on a large scale. This paper presents the first annotated corpus for evaluating Named Entity Recognition in Latin, as well as a fully supervised model that achieves over 90% F-score on a held-out test set, significantly outperforming a competitive baseline. We also present a novel active learning strategy that predicts how many and which sentences need to be annotated for named entities in order to attain a specified degree of accuracy when recognizing named entities automatically in a given text. This maximizes the productivity of annotators while simultaneously controlling quality.