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Dynamic author name disambiguation for growing digital libraries


When a digital library user searches for publications by an author name, she often sees a mixture of publications by different authors who have the same name. With the growth of digital libraries and involvement of more authors, this author ambiguity problem is becoming critical. Author disambiguation (AD) often tries to solve this problem by leveraging metadata such as coauthors, research topics, publication venues and citation information, since more personal information such as the contact details is often restricted or missing. In this paper, we study the problem of how to efficiently disambiguate author names given an incessant stream of published papers. To this end, we propose a “BatchAD+IncAD” framework for dynamic author disambiguation. First, we perform batch author disambiguation (BatchAD) to disambiguate all author names at a given time by grouping all records (each record refers to a paper with one of its author names) into disjoint clusters. This establishes a one-to-one mapping between the clusters and real-world authors. Then, for newly added papers, we periodically perform incremental author disambiguation (IncAD), which determines whether each new record can be assigned to an existing cluster, or to a new cluster not yet included in the previous data. Based on the new data, IncAD also tries to correct previous AD results. Our main contributions are: (1) We demonstrate with real data that a small number of new papers often have overlapping author names with a large portion of existing papers, so it is challenging for IncAD to effectively leverage previous AD results. (2) We propose a novel IncAD model which aggregates metadata from a cluster of records to estimate the author’s profile such as her coauthor distributions and keyword distributions, in order to predict how likely it is that a new record is “produced” by the author. (3) Using two labeled datasets and one large-scale raw dataset, we show that the proposed method is much more efficient than state-of-the-art methods while ensuring high accuracy.

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The authors are grateful to the reviewers for reviewing this paper. The authors thank Professor Jim Kirk from the computer science department of Union University for revising the English expressions of the paper. The authors also thank the Microsoft Academic Search team for providing the API for data accessing. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 61173112, 60921003, 91118005, 91218301, 61221063; National High Technology Research and Development Program of China under Grant No. 2012AA011003; Key Projects in the National Science and Technology Pillar Program under Grant Nos. 2011BAK08B02, 2011BAK08B05, 2012BAH16F02; National Key Technologies R&D Program of China under Grant No. 2013BAK09B01.

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Correspondence to Yanan Qian.

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Qian, Y., Zheng, Q., Sakai, T. et al. Dynamic author name disambiguation for growing digital libraries. Inf Retrieval J 18, 379–412 (2015).

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  • Digital library
  • Author disambiguation
  • Data stream
  • Clustering
  • Multi-classification