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Tag entities/events in new text

This code identifies the entities and events in new text using a bidirectional LSTM (for events) and a layered bidirectional LSTM-CRF (for entities). Both models use BERT contextual embeddings, which yield a substantial performance increase over equivalent non-BERT neural models (reported in Bamman et al. 2019 and Sims et al. 2019).

Entities Events
BERT 77.6 F 73.6 F
Non-BERT 68.3 F 66.9 F

The performance increase does come at a computational cost; it's worth running this code on a GPU or multi-core machine. Timing on the full text of Willa Cather's My Antonia (ca. 100K words):

Machine Minutes:seconds
Tesla K40 GPU 1:01
10-core 2.4 GHz server 2:09
2-core 2.6 GHz Macbook pro 12:52

0. Setup

Python 3 is required, along with the libraries specified in the included requirements file. Install via pip with:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Download a model that has been trained on Litbank with:


The first time this code is used to tag texts (section 2 below), it will also download the bert-base-cased model.

1. BookNLP

For an input text my_antonia_1.txt, run it through BookNLP to tokenize; this will yield a tokens file my_antonia_1.tokens

Following instructions from the BookNLP repo, execute:

./runjava novels/BookNLP -doc my_antonia_1.txt -p data/output/cather -tok tokens/my_antonia_1.tokens -f

my_antonia_1.tokens can then be found in the BookNLP tokens directory.

2. Tag entities

To tag the events and entities (PER, LOC, GPE, FAC, ORG, VEH) in the BookNLP-processed tokens file, execute the following command:

python --mode predict -i sample_data/my_antonia_1.tokens -o sample_data/my_antonia_1.tagged

This will produce a list of tagged entities and events in the text, indexed by their BookNLP token ID:

start token end token label text
14 20 LOC the great midland plain of North America
19 20 GPE North America
31 31 EVENT lost
33 34 PER my father
36 36 PER mother
42 44 PER my Virginia relatives
46 46 EVENT sending
50 51 PER my grandparents
50 56 PER my grandparents , who lived in Nebraska
56 56 GPE Nebraska
59 59 EVENT travelled
64 66 PER a mountain boy
68 69 PER Jake Marpole
71 97 PER one of the ‘ hands ’ on my father ’s old farm under the Blue Ridge , who was now going West to work for my grandfather
78 79 PER my father
78 86 FAC my father ’s old farm under the Blue Ridge
84 86 LOC the Blue Ridge
92 92 LOC West
96 97 PER my grandfather
99 99 PER Jake
103 104 LOC the world
117 119 VEH a railway train
... ... ... ...
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