Dynamic author name disambiguation for growing digital libraries

Yanan Qian*, Qinghua Zheng, Tetsuya Sakai, Junting Ye, Jun Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


When a digital library user searches for publications by an author name, she often sees a mixture of publications by different authors who have the same name. With the growth of digital libraries and involvement of more authors, this author ambiguity problem is becoming critical. Author disambiguation (AD) often tries to solve this problem by leveraging metadata such as coauthors, research topics, publication venues and citation information, since more personal information such as the contact details is often restricted or missing. In this paper, we study the problem of how to efficiently disambiguate author names given an incessant stream of published papers. To this end, we propose a “BatchAD+IncAD” framework for dynamic author disambiguation. First, we perform batch author disambiguation (BatchAD) to disambiguate all author names at a given time by grouping all records (each record refers to a paper with one of its author names) into disjoint clusters. This establishes a one-to-one mapping between the clusters and real-world authors. Then, for newly added papers, we periodically perform incremental author disambiguation (IncAD), which determines whether each new record can be assigned to an existing cluster, or to a new cluster not yet included in the previous data. Based on the new data, IncAD also tries to correct previous AD results. Our main contributions are: (1) We demonstrate with real data that a small number of new papers often have overlapping author names with a large portion of existing papers, so it is challenging for IncAD to effectively leverage previous AD results. (2) We propose a novel IncAD model which aggregates metadata from a cluster of records to estimate the author’s profile such as her coauthor distributions and keyword distributions, in order to predict how likely it is that a new record is “produced” by the author. (3) Using two labeled datasets and one large-scale raw dataset, we show that the proposed method is much more efficient than state-of-the-art methods while ensuring high accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-412
Number of pages34
JournalInformation Retrieval
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 29


  • Author disambiguation
  • Clustering
  • Data stream
  • Digital library
  • Multi-classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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