Ashish Verma


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Layout-Aware Text Representations Harm Clustering Documents by Type
Catherine Finegan-Dollak | Ashish Verma
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Clustering documents by type—grouping invoices with invoices and articles with articles—is a desirable first step for organizing large collections of document scans. Humans approaching this task use both the semantics of the text and the document layout to assist in grouping like documents. LayoutLM (Xu et al., 2019), a layout-aware transformer built on top of BERT with state-of-the-art performance on document-type classification, could reasonably be expected to outperform regular BERT (Devlin et al., 2018) for document-type clustering. However, we find experimentally that BERT significantly outperforms LayoutLM on this task (p <0.001). We analyze clusters to show where layout awareness is an asset and where it is a liability.