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Using paraphrases for improving first story detection in news and Twitter

S. Petrovic, M. Osborne, V. Lavrenko. NAACL 2012

Streaming Data Text Retrieval LSH NAACL

First story detection (FSD) involves identifying first stories about events from a continuous stream of documents. A major problem in this task is the high degree of lexical variation in documents which makes it very difficult to detect stories that talk about the same event but expressed using different words. We suggest using paraphrases to alleviate this problem, making this the first work to use paraphrases for FSD. We show a novel way of integrating paraphrases with locality sensitive hashing (LSH) in order to obtain an efficient FSD system that can scale to very large datasets. Our system achieves state-of-the-art results on the first story detection task, beating both the best supervised and unsupervised systems. To test our approach on large data, we construct a corpus of events for Twitter, consisting of 50 million documents, and show that paraphrasing is also beneficial in this domain.