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Ralf Krestel

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JCDL 20a

Hierarchical Document Classification as a Sequence Generation Task


Hierarchical classification schemes are an effective and natural way to organize large document collections. However, complex schemes make the manual classification time-consuming and require domain experts. Current machine learning approaches for hierarchical classification do not exploit all the information contained in the hierarchical schemes. During training, they do not make full use of the inherent parent-child relation of classes. For example, they neglect to tailor document representations, such as embeddings, to each individual hierarchy level. Our model overcomes these problems by addressing hierarchical classification as a sequence generation task. To this end, our neural network transforms a sequence of input words into a sequence of labels, which represents a path through a tree-structured hierarchy scheme. The evaluation uses a patent corpus, which exhibits a complex class hierarchy scheme and high-quality annotations from domain experts and comprises millions of documents. We re-implemented five models from related work and show that our basic model achieves competitive results in comparison with the best approach. A variation of our model that uses the recent Transformer architecture outperforms the other approaches. The error analysis reveals that the encoder of our model has the strongest influence on its classification performance.

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