Feature-finding for text classification

RS Forsyth, DI Holmes
1996 Digital Scholarship in the Humanities  
Every man's language has, first, its individualities; secondly, the common properties of the class to which he belongs; and thirdly, words and phrases of universal use." --Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1906 [1817]). Abstract Stylometrists have proposed and used a wide variety of textual features or markers, but until recently very little attention has been focused on the question: where do textual features come from? In many text-categorization tasks the choice of textual features is a crucial
more » ... inant of success, yet is typically left to the intuition of the analyst. We argue that it would be desirable, at least in some cases, if this part of the process were less dependent on subjective judgement. Accordingly, this paper compares five different methods of textual feature finding that do not need background knowledge external to the texts being analyzed (three proposed by previous stylometers, two devised for this study). As these methods do not rely on parsing or semantic analysis, they are not tied to the English language only. Results of a benchmark test on 10 representative text-classification problems suggest that the technique here designated Monte-Carlo Feature-Finding has certain advantages that deserve consideration by future workers in this area.
doi:10.1093/llc/11.4.163 fatcat:vhgrwbkhvbbixkrtvx4yzhzffm