2012, pp 43-76
Date: 07 Jan 2012

A Survey of Text Summarization Techniques

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Abstract

Numerous approaches for identifying important content for automatic text summarization have been developed to date. Topic representation approaches first derive an intermediate representation of the text that captures the topics discussed in the input. Based on these representations of topics, sentences in the input document are scored for importance. In contrast, in indicator representation approaches, the text is represented by a diverse set of possible indicators of importance which do not aim at discovering topicality. These indicators are combined, very often using machine learning techniques, to score the importance of each sentence. Finally, a summary is produced by selecting sentences in a greedy approach, choosing the sentences that will go in the summary one by one, or globally optimizing the selection, choosing the best set of sentences to form a summary. In this chapter we give a broad overview of existing approaches based on these distinctions, with particular attention on how representation, sentence scoring or summary selection strategies alter the overall performance of the summarizer. We also point out some of the peculiarities of the task of summarization which have posed challenges to machine learning approaches for the problem, and some of the suggested solutions.