Measuring variability in sentence ordering for news summarization

Nitin Madnani, Rebecca Passonneau, Necip Fazil Ayan, John M. Conroy, Bonnie J. Dorr, Judith L. Klavans, Dianne P. O'Leary, Judith D. Schlesinger

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The issue of sentence ordering is an important one for natural language tasks such as multi-document summarization, yet there has not been a quantitative exploration of the range of acceptable sentence orderings for short texts. We present results of a sentence reordering experiment with three experimental conditions. Our findings indicate a very high degree of variability in the orderings that the eighteen subjects produce. In addition, the variability of reorderings is significantly greater when the initial ordering seen by subjects is different from the original summary. We conclude that evaluation of sentence ordering should use multiple reference orderings. Our evaluation presents several metrics that might prove useful in assessing against multiple references. We conclude with a deeper set of questions: (a) what sorts of independent assessments of quality of the different reference orderings could be made and (b) whether a large enough test set would obviate the need for such independent means of quality assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2007
Event11th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation, ENLG 07 - Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany
Duration: Jun 17 2007Jun 20 2007


Other11th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation, ENLG 07
CitySchloss Dagstuhl

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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