AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Twenty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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The Role and Identification of Dialog Acts in Online Chat
Tamitha Carpenter, Emi Fujioka

Last modified: 2011-08-24


In recent years, online chat has become a dominant mode of communication. This text-based medium has the potential of improving information awareness within an organization, but only if the critical information within messages can be identified and directed to where it is most needed. Such a goal has many challenges that traditional Information Extraction (IE) approaches have rarely addressed: the text is “dirty” (containing typos, misspellings, sparse punctuation, etc.), messages are fragmented and refer implicitly to previous messages and shared knowledge, messages from multiple topics are interleaved, etc.

Past work in conversation analysis has included in-depth discussions of dialog acts, i.e., the individual utterances that comprise conversations. This paper describes how dialog acts within online chat differ from those within two-person voice conversations. It then presents methods for identifying dialog acts and the role that dialog acts play in identifying individual conversations within a chat stream. Identifying conversations is a necessary step for extracting actionable information, such as identifying individuals with specific expertise, recognizing reports of offline activities, and alerting decision makers to critical developments. Finally, we describe Chat-IE, a prototype software system that performs live dialog identification on chat streams.

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