IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering

On Using Partial Supervision for Text Categorization

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In this paper, we discuss the merits of building text categorization systems by using supervised clustering techniques. Traditional approaches for document classification on a predefined set of classes are often unable to provide sufficient accuracy because of the difficulty of fitting a manually categorized collection of documents in a given classification model. This is especially the case for heterogeneous collections of Web documents which have varying styles, vocabulary, and authorship. Hence, this paper investigates the use of clustering in order to create the set of categories and its use for classification of documents. Completely unsupervised clustering has the disadvantage that it has difficulty in isolating sufficiently fine-grained classes of documents relating to a coherent subject matter. In this paper, we use the information from a preexisting taxonomy in order to supervise the creation of a set of related clusters, though with some freedom in defining and creating the classes. We show that the advantage of using partially supervised clustering is that it is possible to have some control over the range of subjects that one would like the categorization system to address, but with a precise mathematical definition of how each category is defined. An extremely effective way then to categorize documents is to use this a priori knowledge of the definition of each category. We also discuss a new technique to help the classifier distinguish better among closely related clusters.