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How To Annotate Interactions Using Dialog Function Units (Part 1) by Michal Novemsky (with the help of Becky Passonneau & Eddie Kang) CCLS, Columbia U. Dept. of CS, NYU The Loqui Corpus

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how to annotate interactions using dialog function units part 1

How To Annotate Interactions Using Dialog Function Units(Part 1)

by Michal Novemsky

(with the help of Becky Passonneau & Eddie Kang)

CCLS, Columbia U.

Dept. of CS, NYU

the loqui corpus
The Loqui Corpus
  • This is a set of 82 transcribed telephone conversations between patrons and librarians of the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. These dialogs mostly consist of patrons requesting materials, and librarians checking whether they are available, and agreeing to send them by mail if they are.
  • Example:
the enron corpus
The Enron Corpus
  • This is a set of email threads, each consisting of several messages, among employees of the Enron Corporation (over 35,000 of which are available for our annotation purposes). They come from the time prior to the scandal and subsequent bankruptcy of the company in 2001. The corpus is publicly available.
  • Example:
purpose of annotation
Purpose of Annotation
  • To find out the different ways in which people talk among each other across modes of communication (e.g. turn-taking is more sequential in casual spoken dialog, but is less so in emails).
  • Development of models that can predict how a second person will respond to a first person who says something
  • Development of models that can identify interactions in dialogs even when difficult to detect*

*From “Dialog Function Units for Studying Interaction across Modalities and Genres: Overview and Annotation Manual”, Section 2

example of turn taking in a phone dialog
Example of turn-taking in a phone dialog
  • From Loqui dialog 78:

As we can see, the caller in this phone conversation asks a question- whether the librarian has her address, to which he responds that he does, and then asks whether the city and state are correct, to which she responds that they are. The librarian then says he will send a book to her. This is clearly an example of sequential turn-taking- the questions and responses come immediately after one another.

line numbering in loqui
Line Numbering in Loqui

Example (from Loqui dialog 78):

We can see here that each line is numbered. Usually, the first part of the number (e.g. 23, 24) will change depending on who is speaking.

When there is a new speaker, his/her title (caller, librarian) is shown.

example of turn taking in an email dialog
Example of turn-taking in an email dialog

From Enron thread 36278:

In this example from an email thread, it is clear that turn-taking is different from the phone conversation. In the first email, Jim asks 3 questions in a row, and in the second email, Jeff answers the first 2 questions in order.

Usually, in emails, the turn-taking is less sequential than in phone conversations, because the interaction is not in real time. The exchange does not go back and forth in the same way.

line numbering in enron
Line Numbering in Enron

From Enron thread 36278:

Similarly to the Loqui dialogs, each line gets 2 numbers: a message number (preceded by M), and a line number.

what is a da
What is a DA?
  • A Dialog Act (DA) is a small chunk of verbal communication that can be interpreted as a complete unit. Usually, it is a sentence, or part of a sentence, and appears as one line in the document that is to be annotated. For example (from Loqui dialog 74):

each of the lines (6.1, 6.2, 7.1, etc.) is a DA

notice in the previous example loqui dialog 74
Notice in the previous example (Loqui dialog 74)

that names are omitted for privacy purposes; if you listen to the dialogs, you will hear a different speaker filling in the blanks (this also goes for other personal information, including phone numbers and home addresses).

what is a dfu
What is a DFU?
  • A Dialog Function Unit (DFU) is a chunk of dialog made up of one or more DAs, which gets a link (see next slide)
  • Each DFU is labeled underneath the text in question, in square brackets, with a short description in your own words giving specifics. There are several different types (to be covered in a few slides).
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 74):
what is a flink
What is a Flink?
  • A Forward Link (Flink) is a label given to an initiating utterance, often a request, which may or may not be in the form of a question.
  • The word “Flink” goes underneath the DFU label, and is followed by the line number of the DFU (or the last line number, if the DFU is made up of several lines)
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 74):
what is a blink
What is a Blink?
  • A Backward Link (Blink) is the label given to an utterance that is a response to a Flink
  • The label goes underneath the DFU, like a Flink, but takes the same line number as the Flink to which it corresponds, rather than its own line number.
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 74):
what is a sflink
What is a Sflink?
  • A Secondary Forward Link (Sflink) is a label given to an utterance after a Blink is determined, but when it was not obviously a Flink to begin with- the Flink was not obligatory.
  • In other words, this generally happens when someone responds to something that was not an outright request
  • Not all responses are linked- for a Sflink, a question is often implicit.
  • Labeling is the same as for a Flink
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 1):
list of most common dfus
List of Most Common DFUs
  • Inform
  • Request-Information
  • Backchannel
  • Conventional
  • NoDA
  • Sidebar
inform
Inform

This is the most common type of DFU. Basically, it conveys information, including the following types:

  • An answer to a question (Request-Information), which makes linking obligatory.
  • Elaborating on a previous DFU (Inform), which also makes linking obligatory

3) Any other instance of saying something informative, which does not necessarily require linking

For example, from Loqui dialog 78:

request information
Request-Information
  • This DFU is often phrased as a question, but not always. It can take many forms, such as “Why is that?”, or “I wonder why that is,” or “Tell me why that is!”, or “I need to know why that is”
  • A Flink is obligatory
  • Often paired with an Inform that has a corresponding Blink
  • An example from Loqui dialog 54:
backchannel loqui only
Backchannel (Loqui only)
  • This DFU refers to the process of communication itself.
  • It usually indicates that the speaker is listening, or has understood or received some prior information
  • It often takes the form“ok”, “uh huh”, “right,” or “yeah” (though these words do not guarantee a Backchannel!)
  • Does not use links
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 60):
conventional
Conventional
  • This is usually a greeting, introduction, expression of thanks, or goodbye
  • It does not require any links
  • In Enron emails, signatures and salutations get this label
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 61):
noda no dialog act loqui only
NoDA (No Dialog Act) (Loqui only)
  • This DFU is used for anything that has no dialog act, such as speech fillers (“uhh”), coughing noises, breathing noises, or any other non-verbal sounds
  • It can also be used for something unintelligible, or for when someone is talking to him/herself
  • For example (from Loqui dialog 56):
sidebar loqui only
Sidebar (Loqui only)
  • This DFU refers to a side conversation that goes on in the middle of the main conversation in question
  • This only goes on in phone dialogs, as email threads can involve more than two people
  • One of the parties may be one of the participants in the conversation, and this may or may not be the only person heard
  • For example, from Loqui dialog 56:
a list of abbreviations in loqui dialogs
A List of Abbreviations in Loqui Dialogs
  • These are generally non-speech sounds, and usually fall under the category NoDA (or could be Sidebar, if <VB>):

from http://www1.ccls.columbia.edu/~beck/guidelines-transcription.html

questions
Questions?
  • (In case anyone has any questions)
homework assignment
Homework Assignment
  • Annotate lines 4.4-17.1 of Loqui dialog 37; you should listen to the audio, as it can affect your interpretation
  • We will email you an audio file and transcription pair (37.san.wav, 37.final.trs) along with instructions for downloading Transcriber
  • Use a plain text editor to do the annotation
  • “Verify” the format of your finished transcription using https://tecac-x2100f.ldeo.columbia.edu/jbg2109/dfu/verifier.php

(password is loqui)