From rhetorical structures to document structure: Shallow pragmatic analysis for document engineering

Gersende Georg*, Hugo Hernault, Marc Cavazza, Helmut Prendinger, Mitsuru Ishizuka

*Corresponding author for this work

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

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we extend previous work on the automatic structuring of medical documents using content analysis. Our long-term objective is to take advantage of specific rhetoric markers encountered in specialized medical documents (clinical guidelines) to automatically structure free text according to its role in the document. This should enable to generate multiple views of the same document depending on the target audience, generate document summaries, as well as facilitating knowledge extraction from text. We have established in previous work that the structure of clinical guidelines could be refined through the identification of a limited set of deontic operators. We now propose to extend this approach by analyzing the text delimited by these operators using Rhetorical Structure Theory. The emphasis on causality and time in RST proves a powerful complement to the recognition of deontic structures while retaining the same philosophy of high-level recognition of sentence structure, which can be converted into applicationspecific mark-ups. Throughout the paper, we illustrate our findings through results produced by the automatic processing of English guidelines for the management of hypertension and Alzheimer disease.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDocEng'09 - Proceedings of the 2009 ACM Symposium on Document Engineering
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event9th ACM Symposium on Document Engineering, DocEng'09 - Munich
Duration: 2009 Sept 152009 Sept 18


Other9th ACM Symposium on Document Engineering, DocEng'09


  • Medical document processing
  • Natural language processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software

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