Simple article summarization

Jernej Virag

October 15, 2013

I've been spending my time hacking on my slovenian news parser called news-bus buddy (source on Bitbucket. Since the “recent news” page looked a little empty with only news titles, I needed an algorithm to get summary of an article from database.

The idea

The algorithm is simple and very naive, it works as follows:

For the algorithm to work properly, words must be lemmatized and stopwords filtered. The algorithm is heavily based on article about summarization by Hu, Sun, Lim and Python implementation of theory by thavelick on GitHub.

The implementation

The implementation uses Natural Language Toolkit Python library for basic text processing. NLTK is probably one of the best natural language processing libraries out there right now.

It also uses LemmaGen lemmatizer for stemming of words, which is available on BitBucket with Python bindings.

import os
from collections import defaultdict
import operator

from lemmatizer.sllematizer import RdrLemmatizer

from nltk import FreqDist
from nltk.tokenize import word_tokenize

lemmatizer = RdrLemmatizer("lem-me-sl.bin")
sent_detector ="tokenizers/slovene.pickle")

stopwords = open("stopwords.txt"), "rb").read().splitlines()
stopwords = filter(lambda w: not w.startswith("#"), stopwords)
# Convert to unicode
stopwords = [word.decode("utf-8") for word in stopwords]

# Get words from article
words = word_tokenize(article_text)

# Filter non-alphanumeric chars from words
words = [filter(unicode.isalnum, word) for word in words]
words = filter(lambda w: len(w) > 0, words)  # Remove empty words

# Now lemmatize all words
words = [lemmatizer.lemmatize(word).lower() for word in words if word.lower() not in stopwords]
word_frequencies = FreqDist(words)
most_frequent = [word[0] for word in word_frequencies.items()[:50]]

# Now get sentences
sentences = sent_detector.tokenize(article_text)

wordcountdict = defaultdict(int)

for word in most_frequent:
	lem_word = lemmatizer.lemmatize(word).lower()
	for i in range(0, len(sentences)):
		if lem_word in sentences[i]:
			wordcountdict[i] += 1

sorted_wordcounts = sorted(wordcountdict.iteritems(), key=operator.itemgetter(1), reverse=True)[:num_sentences]
summary = [sentences[num] for num, count in sorted_wordcounts]
print "Summary: %s" % (summary,) 


Of course, the algorithm is very naive and it doesn't give best results at all times: it heavily prefers longer sentences over shorter ones because it counts words with absolute numbers. Filtering stopwords significantly improves results, but further improvements would by possible by:

I'd be happy to hear more ideas about how to improve the algorithm.