Thursday, 27 June 2019

GATE's submission wins 2nd place in United Nations General Assembly Resolutions Extraction and Elicitation Global Challenge

In May 2019 we submitted a prototype to the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions Extraction and Elicitation Global Challenge, which asked for submissions using mature natural language processing techniques to produce semantically enhanced, machine-readable documents from PDFs of UN GA resolutions, with particular interest in identifying named entities and items in certain thesauri and ontologies and in making use of the document structure (in particular, the distinction between preamble and operative paragraphs).

Our prototype included a customized GATE application designed to read PDFs of United Nations General Assembly resolutions and identify named entities, resolution adoption information (resolution number and adoption date), preamble sections, operative sections, and references to keywords and phrases in the English parts of the UN Bibliographical Information System thesaurus.

We downloaded and automatically annotated over 2800 resolution documents and pushed the results into a Mímir index to allow semantic search using combinations of the entities and sections identified, such as the following (more examples are provided in the documentation that we submitted):
  • find sentences in operative paragraphs containing a person and an UNBIS term;
  • find preamble paragraphs containing a person, an organization, and a date;
  • find combinations referring to a specific UNBIS term.

We also developed an easier to use web front end for exploring co-occurrences of keywords and semantic annotations.


We are excited to receive the second place award, along with an invitation to improve our work with more feedback and a "lessons learned" discussion with the panel. The panel highlighted in particular the submission of comprehensive and testable code, and the use of GATE as a mature respected framework.


Our GitHub site contains the information extraction and search front end software, licensed under the GPL-3.0 and available for anyone to download and use.

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