publication . Article . 2013

Acquisition and evaluation of verb subcategorization resources for biomedicine

Laura Rimell; Thomas Lippincott; Karin Verspoor; Helen L. Johnson; Anna Korhonen;
Open Access
  • Published: 22 Jan 2013 Journal: Journal of Biomedical Informatics, volume 46, issue 2, pages 228-237 (issn: 1532-0464, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
Background: Biomedical natural language processing (NLP) applications that have access to detailed resources about the linguistic characteristics of biomedical language demonstrate improved performance on tasks such as relation extraction and syntactic or semantic parsing. Such applications are important for transforming the growing unstructured information buried in the biomedical literature into structured, actionable information. In this paper, we address the creation of linguistic resources that capture how individual biomedical verbs behave. We specifically consider verb subcategorization, or the tendency of verbs to ''select'' co-occurrence with particular phrase types, which influences the interpretation of verbs and identification of verbal arguments in context. There are currently a limited number of biomedical resources containing information about subcategorization frames (SCFs), and these are the result of either labor-intensive manual collation, or automatic methods that use tools adapted to a single biomedical subdomain. Either method may result in resources that lack coverage. Moreover, the quality of existing verb SCF resources for biomedicine is unknown, due to a lack of available gold standards for evaluation. Results: This paper presents three new resources related to verb subcategorization frames in biomedicine, and four experiments making use of the new resources. We present the first biomedical SCF gold standards, capturing two different but widely-used definitions of subcategorization, and a new SCF lexicon, BioCat, covering a large number of biomedical sub-domains. We evaluate the SCF acquisition methodologies for BioCat with respect to the gold standards, and compare the results with the accuracy of the only previously existing automatically-acquired SCF lexicon for biomedicine, the BioLexicon. Our results show that the BioLexicon has greater precision while BioCat has better coverage of SCFs. Finally, we explore the definition of subcategorization using these resources and its implications for biomedical NLP. All resources are made publicly available. Conclusion: The SCF resources we have evaluated still show considerably lower accuracy than that reported with general English lexicons, demonstrating the need for domain- and subdomain-specific SCF acquisition tools for biomedicine. Our new gold standards reveal major differences when annotators use the different definitions. Moreover, evaluation of BioCat yields major differences in accuracy depending on the gold standard, demonstrating that the definition of subcategorization adopted will have a direct impact on perceived system accuracy for specific tasks.
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free text keywords: Health Informatics, Computer Science Applications, Verb subcategorization, Lexical resources, Natural language processing, Biomedical text processing, Lexicon, Relationship extraction, Phrase, Subcategorization, Artificial intelligence, business.industry, business, Semantics, Natural language processing, computer.software_genre, computer, Context (language use), Parsing, Computer science, Verb
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Funded by
UKRI| Lexical Acquisition for the Biomedical Domain
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Project Code: EP/G051070/1
  • Funding stream: EPSRC
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