TaggerOne: joint named entity recognition and normalization with semi-Markov Models

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Text mining is increasingly used to manage the accelerating pace of the biomedical literature. Many text mining applications depend on accurate named entity recognition (NER) and normalization (grounding). While high performing machine learning methods trainable for many entity types exist for NER, normalization methods are usually specialized to a single entity type. NER and normalization systems are also typically used in a serial pipeline, causing cascading errors and limiting the ability of the NER system to directly exploit the lexical information provided by the normalization.


We propose the first machine learning model for joint NER and normalization during both training and prediction. The model is trainable for arbitrary entity types and consists of a semi-Markov structured linear classifier, with a rich feature approach for NER and supervised semantic indexing for normalization. We also introduce TaggerOne, a Java implementation of our model as a general toolkit for joint NER and normalization. TaggerOne is not specific to any entity type, requiring only annotated training data and a corresponding lexicon, and has been optimized for high throughput.


We validated TaggerOne with multiple gold-standard corpora containing both mention- and concept-level annotations. Benchmarking results show that TaggerOne achieves high performance on diseases (NCBI Disease corpus, NER f-score: 0.829, normalization f-score: 0.807) and chemicals (BioCreative 5 CDR corpus, NER f-score: 0.914, normalization f-score 0.895). These results compare favorably to the previous state of the art, notwithstanding the greater flexibility of the model. We conclude that jointly modeling NER and normalization greatly improves performance.

Availability and Implementation:

The TaggerOne source code and an online demonstration are available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bionlp/taggerone



Supplementary information:

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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