Outline Generation: Understanding the Inherent Content Structure of Documents

24 May 2019  ·  Ruqing Zhang, Jiafeng Guo, Yixing Fan, Yanyan Lan, Xue-Qi Cheng ·

In this paper, we introduce and tackle the Outline Generation (OG) task, which aims to unveil the inherent content structure of a multi-paragraph document by identifying its potential sections and generating the corresponding section headings. Without loss of generality, the OG task can be viewed as a novel structured summarization task. To generate a sound outline, an ideal OG model should be able to capture three levels of coherence, namely the coherence between context paragraphs, that between a section and its heading, and that between context headings. The first one is the foundation for section identification, while the latter two are critical for consistent heading generation. In this work, we formulate the OG task as a hierarchical structured prediction problem, i.e., to first predict a sequence of section boundaries and then a sequence of section headings accordingly. We propose a novel hierarchical structured neural generation model, named HiStGen, for the task. Our model attempts to capture the three-level coherence via the following ways. First, we introduce a Markov paragraph dependency mechanism between context paragraphs for section identification. Second, we employ a section-aware attention mechanism to ensure the semantic coherence between a section and its heading. Finally, we leverage a Markov heading dependency mechanism and a review mechanism between context headings to improve the consistency and eliminate duplication between section headings. Besides, we build a novel WIKIOG dataset, a public collection which consists of over 1.75 million document-outline pairs for research on the OG task. Experimental results on our benchmark dataset demonstrate that our model can significantly outperform several state-of-the-art sequential generation models for the OG task.

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