Zejiang Shen


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VILA: Improving Structured Content Extraction from Scientific PDFs Using Visual Layout Groups
Zejiang Shen | Kyle Lo | Lucy Lu Wang | Bailey Kuehl | Daniel S. Weld | Doug Downey
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

Accurately extracting structured content from PDFs is a critical first step for NLP over scientific papers. Recent work has improved extraction accuracy by incorporating elementary layout information, for example, each token’s 2D position on the page, into language model pretraining. We introduce new methods that explicitly model VIsual LAyout (VILA) groups, that is, text lines or text blocks, to further improve performance. In our I-VILA approach, we show that simply inserting special tokens denoting layout group boundaries into model inputs can lead to a 1.9% Macro F1 improvement in token classification. In the H-VILA approach, we show that hierarchical encoding of layout-groups can result in up to 47% inference time reduction with less than 0.8% Macro F1 loss. Unlike prior layout-aware approaches, our methods do not require expensive additional pretraining, only fine-tuning, which we show can reduce training cost by up to 95%. Experiments are conducted on a newly curated evaluation suite, S2-VLUE, that unifies existing automatically labeled datasets and includes a new dataset of manual annotations covering diverse papers from 19 scientific disciplines. Pre-trained weights, benchmark datasets, and source code are available at https://github.com/allenai/VILA.


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PAWLS: PDF Annotation With Labels and Structure
Mark Neumann | Zejiang Shen | Sam Skjonsberg
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) is a popular way of distributing view-only documents with a rich visual markup. This presents a challenge to NLP practitioners who wish to use the information contained within PDF documents for training models or data analysis, because annotating these documents is difficult. In this paper, we present PDF Annotation with Labels and Structure (PAWLS), a new annotation tool designed specifically for the PDF document format. PAWLS is particularly suited for mixed-mode annotation and scenarios in which annotators require extended context to annotate accurately. PAWLS supports span-based textual annotation, N-ary relations and freeform, non-textual bounding boxes, all of which can be exported in convenient formats for training multi-modal machine learning models. A read-only PAWLS server is available at https://pawls.apps.allenai.org/, and the source code is available at https://github.com/allenai/pawls.