NEWS, but not as we know it

April 18, 2006

It will mean stories can be defined, on the fly, with a precision greater than a library's card catalogue. The News Engine Web Services (NEWS) platform is aimed at news agencies, governments and large enterprises and will enable them to develop highly advanced analysis to raw text, with a vast number of potential applications.

News agencies will be able to automatically create very highly personalised news profiles for readers. Governments will be able to analyse social and political trends through newspaper reports, at a much higher level of detail than was possible previously, and large businesses will be able to study market and product developments.

The project that developed the platform even managed to develop a proof-of-concept service for analysing audio, by combining their system with a commercial voice recognition programme.

At the heart of this functionality is the powerful classification and ontology-based annotation system that can work across languages. "News classifications up to now typically consisted of about 12 terms, like sport, world news, finance, that a journalist knew off by heart," says Dr Ansgar Bernardi, deputy head of the Knowledge Management Group at DFKI, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, and coordinator of the IST-funded NEWS project.

"That's not very precise. Our system can automatically analyse a story and access 1300 classification terms to define it," says Bernardi.

What's more it can access a large ontology of terms related to the specific story definitions within a class, terms like president, head-of-state and government in the politics class, for example. The end result is a very large data set of standardised terms that define the story's content.

That data set can then be used in a huge variety of ways to potentially answer almost any query a user can imagine. A simple example: "Show me news items about the US president in January 2006" will deliver news items about George W. Bush in this time frame.

"We expect that platform users will take the basic functionality and develop around it to respond to the information they want to analyse," says Bernardi. The system also needs to be 'trained' for analysis of specific topics.

To avoid 'false positives', where two people of the same name are confused, for example, or where two cities have the same name, the NEWS team developed IdentityRank, an adaptive algorithm for instance disambiguation.

"It really started out as a by-product of our main work, but it works well and I think it may generate quite a bit of scientific interest," says Bernardi.

It's only one of NEWS' many achievements, and work will not stop there. "We have developed a great network during the project and the consortium has agreed to offer mutual support for a further two years. In the meantime we are pursuing commercial opportunities, several news agencies are interested in the platform, and we had a lot of exposure at CEBIT '05 and '06," says Bernardi.

Source: IST Results

Explore further: Facebook 'fix' needed, early investor Roger McNamee says

Related Stories

Suicides spiked after death of Robin Williams, study finds

February 7, 2018

In the months after Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health documented a marked 10 percent increase in of suicides. While excess suicides were observed ...

Facebook is making a big change to your news feed

January 12, 2018

Facebook is radically altering the formula that determines what bubbles to the top of people's news feed, part of sweeping changes the giant social network has planned to address growing controversy over the role it plays ...

Facebook move will play out in long-term: analysts

January 13, 2018

Facebook's move to highlight posts from friends and family over those from brands and publications follows months of turmoil for the social network and will result in lower advertising revenue—at least in the short-term, ...

Asocial media

January 19, 2018

The incidence of abusive commentary on social media is rising. Media specialists Carsten Reinemann and Christoph Neuberger are exploring the grounds for this development, and have invited journalist Dunja Hayali to discuss ...

Recommended for you

Duplicate genes help animals resolve sexual conflict

February 19, 2018

Duplicate copies of a gene shared by male and female fruit flies have evolved to resolve competing demands between the sexes. New genetic analysis by researchers at the University of Chicago describes how these copies have ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.