Podcasts have shown a recent rise in popularity. Summarization of podcasts is of practical benefit to both content providers and consumers. It helps people quickly decide whether they will listen to a podcast and/or reduces the cognitive load of content providers to write summaries. Nevertheless, podcast summarization faces significant challenges including factual inconsistencies of summaries with respect to the inputs. The problem is exacerbated by speech disfluencies and recognition errors in transcripts of spoken language. In this paper, we explore a novel abstractive summarization method to alleviate these issues. Our approach learns to produce an abstractive summary while grounding summary segments in specific regions of the transcript to allow for full inspection of summary details. We conduct a series of analyses of the proposed approach on a large podcast dataset and show that the approach can achieve promising results. Grounded summaries bring clear benefits in locating the summary and transcript segments that contain inconsistent information, and hence improve summarization quality in terms of automatic and human evaluation.
Comprehending a dialogue requires a model to capture diverse kinds of key information in the utterances, which are either scattered around or implicitly implied in different turns of conversations. Therefore, dialogue comprehension requires diverse capabilities such as paraphrasing, summarizing, and commonsense reasoning. Towards the objective of pre-training a zero-shot dialogue comprehension model, we develop a novel narrative-guided pre-training strategy that learns by narrating the key information from a dialogue input. However, the dialogue-narrative parallel corpus for such a pre-training strategy is currently unavailable. For this reason, we first construct a dialogue-narrative parallel corpus by automatically aligning movie subtitles and their synopses. We then pre-train a BART model on the data and evaluate its performance on four dialogue-based tasks that require comprehension. Experimental results show that our model not only achieves superior zero-shot performance but also exhibits stronger fine-grained dialogue comprehension capabilities. The data and code are available at https://github.com/zhaochaocs/Diana.
Narrative summarization aims to produce a distilled version of a narrative to describe its most salient events and characters. Writing a summary for a narrative is challenging as it requires an understanding of event causality and character behaviors. To encourage research in this direction, we propose NarraSum, a large-scale narrative summarization dataset. It contains 122K narratives, which are collected from the synopses of movies and TV episodes with diverse genres, and their corresponding abstractive summaries. Experiments show that there is a large performance gap between humans and the state-of-the-art summarization models on NarraSum. We hope that this dataset will promote future research in summarization, as well as broader studies of natural language understanding and generation. The dataset is available at https://github.com/zhaochaocs/narrasum.
Text segmentation is important for signaling a document’s structure. Without segmenting a long document into topically coherent sections, it is difficult for readers to comprehend the text, let alone find important information. The problem is only exacerbated by a lack of segmentation in transcripts of audio/video recordings. In this paper, we explore the role that section segmentation plays in extractive summarization of written and spoken documents. Our approach learns robust sentence representations by performing summarization and segmentation simultaneously, which is further enhanced by an optimization-based regularizer to promote selection of diverse summary sentences. We conduct experiments on multiple datasets ranging from scientific articles to spoken transcripts to evaluate the model’s performance. Our findings suggest that the model can not only achieve state-of-the-art performance on publicly available benchmarks, but demonstrate better cross-genre transferability when equipped with text segmentation. We perform a series of analyses to quantify the impact of section segmentation on summarizing written and spoken documents of substantial length and complexity.
Abstractive summarization models typically learn to capture the salient information from scratch implicitly.Recent literature adds extractive summaries as guidance for abstractive summarization models to provide hints of salient content and achieves better performance.However, extractive summaries as guidance could be over strict, leading to information loss or noisy signals.Furthermore, it cannot easily adapt to documents with various abstractiveness.As the number and allocation of salience content pieces varies, it is hard to find a fixed threshold deciding which content should be included in the guidance.In this paper, we propose a novel summarization approach with a flexible and reliable salience guidance, namely SEASON (SaliencE Allocation as Guidance for Abstractive SummarizatiON).SEASON utilizes the allocation of salience expectation to guide abstractive summarization and adapts well to articles in different abstractiveness.Automatic and human evaluations on two benchmark datasets show that the proposed method is effective and reliable.Empirical results on more than one million news articles demonstrate a natural fifteen-fifty salience split for news article sentences, providing a useful insight for composing news articles.
We propose a new approach to generate multiple variants of the target summary with diverse content and varying lengths, then score and select admissible ones according to users’ needs. Abstractive summarizers trained on single reference summaries may struggle to produce outputs that achieve multiple desirable properties, i.e., capturing the most important information, being faithful to the original, grammatical and fluent. In this paper, we propose a two-staged strategy to generate a diverse set of candidate summaries from the source text in stage one, then score and select admissible ones in stage two. Importantly, our generator gives a precise control over the length of the summary, which is especially well-suited when space is limited. Our selectors are designed to predict the optimal summary length and put special emphasis on faithfulness to the original text. Both stages can be effectively trained, optimized and evaluated. Our experiments on benchmark summarization datasets suggest that this paradigm can achieve state-of-the-art performance.
Amongst the best means to summarize is highlighting. In this paper, we aim to generate summary highlights to be overlaid on the original documents to make it easier for readers to sift through a large amount of text. The method allows summaries to be understood in context to prevent a summarizer from distorting the original meaning, of which abstractive summarizers usually fall short. In particular, we present a new method to produce self-contained highlights that are understandable on their own to avoid confusion. Our method combines determinantal point processes and deep contextualized representations to identify an optimal set of sub-sentence segments that are both important and non-redundant to form summary highlights. To demonstrate the flexibility and modeling power of our method, we conduct extensive experiments on summarization datasets. Our analysis provides evidence that highlighting is a promising avenue of research towards future summarization.
When writing a summary, humans tend to choose content from one or two sentences and merge them into a single summary sentence. However, the mechanisms behind the selection of one or multiple source sentences remain poorly understood. Sentence fusion assumes multi-sentence input; yet sentence selection methods only work with single sentences and not combinations of them. There is thus a crucial gap between sentence selection and fusion to support summarizing by both compressing single sentences and fusing pairs. This paper attempts to bridge the gap by ranking sentence singletons and pairs together in a unified space. Our proposed framework attempts to model human methodology by selecting either a single sentence or a pair of sentences, then compressing or fusing the sentence(s) to produce a summary sentence. We conduct extensive experiments on both single- and multi-document summarization datasets and report findings on sentence selection and abstraction.
Seq2seq learning has produced promising results on summarization. However, in many cases, system summaries still struggle to keep the meaning of the original intact. They may miss out important words or relations that play critical roles in the syntactic structure of source sentences. In this paper, we present structure-infused copy mechanisms to facilitate copying important words and relations from the source sentence to summary sentence. The approach naturally combines source dependency structure with the copy mechanism of an abstractive sentence summarizer. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of incorporating source-side syntactic information in the system, and our proposed approach compares favorably to state-of-the-art methods.
Generating a text abstract from a set of documents remains a challenging task. The neural encoder-decoder framework has recently been exploited to summarize single documents, but its success can in part be attributed to the availability of large parallel data automatically acquired from the Web. In contrast, parallel data for multi-document summarization are scarce and costly to obtain. There is a pressing need to adapt an encoder-decoder model trained on single-document summarization data to work with multiple-document input. In this paper, we present an initial investigation into a novel adaptation method. It exploits the maximal marginal relevance method to select representative sentences from multi-document input, and leverages an abstractive encoder-decoder model to fuse disparate sentences to an abstractive summary. The adaptation method is robust and itself requires no training data. Our system compares favorably to state-of-the-art extractive and abstractive approaches judged by automatic metrics and human assessors.