Efficient topic-based unsupervised name disambiguation

Yang Song, Jian Huang, Isaac G. Councill, Jia Li, C. Lee Giles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

110 Citations (SciVal)


Name ambiguity is a special case of identity uncertainty where one person can be referenced by multiple name variations in different situations or even share the same name with other people. In this paper, we focus on the problem of disambiguating person names within web pages and scientific documents. We present an efficient and effective two-stage approach to disambiguate names. In the first stage, two novel topic-based models are proposed by extending two hierarchical Bayesian text models, namely Probabilistic Latent Semantic Analysis (PLSA) and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). Our models explicitly introduce a new variable for persons and learn the distribution of topics with regard to persons and words. After learning an initial model, the topic distributions are treated as feature sets and names are disambiguated by leveraging a hierarchical agglomerative clustering method. Experiments on web data and scientific documents from CiteSeer indicate that our approach consistently outperforms other unsupervised learning methods such as spectral clustering and DBSCAN clustering and could be extended to other research fields. We empirically addressed the issue of scalability by disambiguating authors in over 750,000 papers from the entire CiteSeer dataset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2007
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding and Sustaining the Digital Environment
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2007
Event7th ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2007: Building and Sustaining the Digital Environment - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: Jun 18 2007Jun 23 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM International Conference on Digital Libraries


Other7th ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2007: Building and Sustaining the Digital Environment
CityVancouver, BC

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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