📅 October 25, 2011 🕐 07:59 🏷 Thesis (MSc)

All this time I have been working on my ontology-powered topic identification system: combining semantic web technologies with natural language processing and text-mining techniques to extract (a) topic(s) from a text. But I never really decided what my program should output: a topic? A list of potential topics with their ‘likeliness’? That would mean the relationships between topics my SPARQL-powered ‘pathfinder’ finds would disappear in an algorithm that used those paths to calculate semantic similarity, which would be a pitty. This weekend it finally all came together:

Visualize!

I already played around with drawing graphs with Gephi, as a method to check the results in a way other than processing huge lists in my python interpreter. But now I realize it could be the perfect ‘final product’. What I want to create is a ‘semantically-augmented tag-cloud-graph‘. As opposed to a standard tagcloud, my augmented tag graph will be a visualization of the text, composed of both interlinked concepts and solitary concepts, concepts that can be found literally in the text and concepts that aren’t mentioned anywhere in the text. The tag graph will benefit from the linked data nature of ontologies to:

1. Show relationships between concepts
2. Show extra concepts which do not occur literally in the text: nodes that occur in a path between two nodes, and maybe ‘superClass’ and ‘subClass’ nodes.

In this way, it will be similar to a tag cloud as it conveys the content of a text, but augmented as it could convey the meaning of a text and relationships between tags. It will also be similar to the DBPedia RelFinder, but augmented as it will show links but also contain a hierarchy of more to less important concepts. I hope that in the end it could be a viable alternative of graphic text-representation.

Visualize what?

As I see it, my semantic graph-cloud should communicate at least these three things:
1. The most likely topic of the text
2. The concepts which occur literally in the text versus concepts that do not occur in the text
3. Clusters of similar concepts

My first idea is to model these three properties by size, alpha-channel and colour respectively, the bigger node, the more likely the topic, transparant nodes are the ones that do not occur in the text, and coloured nodes to group semantically similar nodes. But that’s just my initial plan, I might have to give it some more thoughts and experiment with it.

Next, I should think about a method to ‘measure’ whether my semantic tagcloud conveys more information, or has ajy added value. In the end, I am totally unsure whether the resulting tag graphs will make sense as it depends on multiple factors such as the efficiency of my keyword extraction, the efficiency of the vector-space based string comparison, the quality of the ontologies, etc.

The good news is, most of the technical work is in a close-to-finished state. I have various methods of extracting keywords from large texts (which I will be validating soon), I have a functional method to find ‘new’ concepts by comparing a text to all the descriptions of ontology concepts, I have a functional shortest-path finder to explore how two concepts are related (and produce a graph of it). It’s just a matter of putting it all together and selecting a suitable tool to draw the graphs. I don’t think I’ll use Gephi, as I want to fully integrate the graph drawing in my script, so who knows, maybe it’s back to NetworkX, igraph, or maybe Protovis?

In the mean time I’m looking at validating the data I generated with the various keyword extraction algorithms. By using human experts and cross-validating with existing keywords from certain entries, I’ll be able to evaluate which method of keyword extraction is the most efficient for my purposes. Once that’s done, and  I’ve picked my graph-drawing method, I can start showing some preliminary results!