Inui and Okazaki Laboratory, Tohoku University



STATEMENT MAP: Mapping statements of interest onto the logical space of an argument

The importance of the internet as a source of information cannot be disputed. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center Pew Research found that among Americans the internet has overtaken newspapers as a news outlet and rivaled television for those surveyed under the age of thirty. Recent research reports that people are turning to the internet for information on important decisions like health care, medical information, and large purchases; However, we must not accept as given the reliability of all information on the Web because there is a lot of incorrect information on the Web. So, although users are at risk of believing incorrect information, they often lack the knowledge necessary to evaluate the credibility of online information.

To evaluate the credibility of information on the Web, it is necessary to gather sentences and summarize them, organize opinions on a topic into different viewpoints, and show users the evidence. Metzger pointed out not only the quality of description but also citing to scientific information in other Web sites, as factors to be utilized for evaluating the credibility of information on the Web. Meola also indicated that comparing the focused Web information with others is able to reveal specific areas of a topic that are controversial and that need special attention and verification, and corroborating information is to verify it against one or more different sources.

The goal of the STATEMENT MAP project is to assist internet users with evaluating the credibility of online information by presenting them with a comprehensive survey of opinions on a topic and showing how they relate to each other. However, because real text on the Web is often complex in nature, we target a simpler and more fundamental unit of meaning which we call the “statement.” To summarize opinions for the statement map users, we first convert all sentences into statements and then, organize them into groups of agreeing and conflicting opinions that show the logical support for each group. Consider the case of an anxious user who is worried about whether vaccines are really safe for his or her child. The figure shows the results of a similar query ”Do vaccines cause autism?” would produce with STATEMENT MAP.


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