This paper proposes a corpus for the development and evaluation of tools and techniques for identifying emerging infectious disease threats in online news text. The corpus can not only be used for information extraction, but also for other natural language processing (NLP) tasks such as text classification. We make use of articles published on the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) platform, which provides current information about outbreaks of infectious diseases globally. Among the key pieces of information present in the articles is the uniform resource locator (URL) to the online news sources where the outbreaks were originally reported. We detail the procedure followed to build the dataset, which includes leveraging the source URLs to retrieve the news reports and subsequently pre-processing the retrieved documents. We also report on experimental results of event extraction on the dataset using the Data Analysis for Information Extraction in any Language(DAnIEL) system. DAnIEL is a multilingual news surveillance system that leverages unique attributes associated with news reporting to extract events: repetition and saliency. The system has wide geographical and language coverage, including low-resource languages. In addition, we compare different classification approaches in terms of their ability to differentiate between epidemic-related and unrelated news articles that constitute the corpus.
Multilingual Epidemiological Text Classification: A Comparative Study
Stephen Mutuvi | Emanuela Boros | Antoine Doucet | Adam Jatowt | Gaël Lejeune | Moses Odeo
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
In this paper, we approach the multilingual text classification task in the context of the epidemiological field. Multilingual text classification models tend to perform differently across different languages (low- or high-resourced), more particularly when the dataset is highly imbalanced, which is the case for epidemiological datasets. We conduct a comparative study of different machine and deep learning text classification models using a dataset comprising news articles related to epidemic outbreaks from six languages, four low-resourced and two high-resourced, in order to analyze the influence of the nature of the language, the structure of the document, and the size of the data. Our findings indicate that the performance of the models based on fine-tuned language models exceeds by more than 50% the chosen baseline models that include a specialized epidemiological news surveillance system and several machine learning models. Also, low-resource languages are highly influenced not only by the typology of the languages on which the models have been pre-trained or/and fine-tuned but also by their size. Furthermore, we discover that the beginning and the end of documents provide the most salient features for this task and, as expected, the performance of the models was proportionate to the training data size.