Selecting negative examples for hierarchical text classification: An experimental comparison

Tiziano Fagni, Fabrizio Sebastiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Hierarchical text classification (HTC) approaches have recently attracted a lot of interest on the part of researchers in human language technology and machine learning, since they have been shown to bring about equal, if not better, classification accuracy with respect to their "flat" counterparts while allowing exponential time savings at both learning and classification time. A typical component of HTC methods is a "local" policy for selecting negative examples: Given a category c, its negative training examples are by default identified with the training examples that are negative for c and positive for the categories which are siblings of c in the hierarchy. However, this policy has always been taken for granted and never been subjected to careful scrutiny since first proposed 15 years ago. This article proposes a thorough experimental comparison between this policy and three other policies for the selection of negative examples in HTC contexts, one of which (BEST LOCAL (k)) is being proposed for the first time in this article. We compare these policies on the hierarchical versions of three supervised learning algorithms (boosting, support vector machines, and naïve Bayes) by performing experiments on two standard TC datasets, REUTERS-21578 and RCV1-V2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2256-2265
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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