Tagging Sentence Boundaries in Biomedical Literature

Weijian Xuan; Stanley J. Watson; Fan Meng
Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 2007; 4394:186-195.


Identifying sentence boundaries is an indispensable task for most natural language processing (NLP) systems. While extensive efforts have been devoted to mine biomedical text using NLP techniques, few attempts are specifically targeted at disambiguating sentence boundaries in biomedical literature, which has a number of unique features that can reduce the accuracy of algorithms designed for general English genre significantly. In order to increase the accuracy of sentence boundary identification for biomedical literature, we developed a method using a combination of heuristic and statistical strategies. Our approach does not require part-of-speech taggers or training procedures. Experiments with biomedical test corpora show our system significantly outperforms existing sentence boundary determination algorithms, particularly for full text biomedical literature. Our system is very fast and it should also be easily adaptable for sentence boundary determination in scientific literature from non-biomedical fields.