This work concerns automatic topic segmentation of email conversations. We present a corpus of email threads manually annotated with topics, and evaluate annotator reliability. To our knowledge, this is the first such email corpus. We show how the existing topic segmentation models (i.e., Lexical Chain Segmenter (LCSeg) and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA)) which are solely based on lexical information, can be applied to emails. By pointing out where these methods fail and what any desired model should consider, we propose two novel extensions of the models that not only use lexical information but also exploit finer level conversation structure in a principled way. Empirical evaluation shows that LCSeg is a better model than LDA for segmenting an email thread into topical clusters and incorporating conversation structure into these models improves the performance significantly
Exploiting Conversation Structure in Unsupervised Topic Segmentation for Emails
Shafiq Joty, Giuseppe Carenini, Gabriel Murray, and Raymond Ng. In Proceedings of the conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP'10) , pages 388-398, 2010.
PDF Abstract BibTex Slides