Textual Signatures: Identifying Text-Types Using Latent Semantic Analysis to Measure the Cohesion of Text Structures

  • Philip M. McCarthy
  • Stephen W. Briner
  • Vasile Rus
  • Danielle S. McNamara

Abstract

Just as a sentence is far more than a mere concatenation of words, a text is far more than a mere concatenation of sentences. Texts contain pertinent information that co-refers across sentences and paragraphs [30]; texts contain relations between phrases, clauses, and sentences that are often causally linked [21], [51], [56]; and texts that depend on relating a series of chronological events contain temporal features that help the reader to build a coherent representation of the text [19], [55]. We refer to textual features such as these as cohesive elements, and they occur within paragraphs (locally), across paragraphs (globally), and in forms such as referential, causal, temporal, and structural [18], [22], [36]. But cohesive elements, and by consequence cohesion, does not simply feature in a text as dialogues tend to feature in narratives, or as cartoons tend to feature in newspapers. That is, cohesion is not present or absent in a binary or optional sense. Instead, cohesion in text exists on a continuum of presence, which is sometimes indicative of the text-type in question [12], [37], [41] and sometimes indicative of the audience for which the text was written [44], [47]. In this chapter, we discuss the nature and importance of cohesion; we demonstrate a computational tool that measures cohesion; and, most importantly, we demonstrate a novel approach to identifying text-types by incorporating contrasting rates of cohesion.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip M. McCarthy
    • 1
  • Stephen W. Briner
    • 1
  • Vasile Rus
    • 1
  • Danielle S. McNamara
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Institute for Intelligent SystemsUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA

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