We compare two ways of obtaining lexical knowledge for antecedent selection in other-anaphora and definite noun phrase coreference. Specifically, we compare an algorithm that relies on links encoded in the manually created lexical hierarchy WordNet and an algorithm that mines corpora by means of shallow lexico-semantic patterns. As corpora we use the British National Corpus (BNC), as well as the Web, which has not been previously used for this task. Our results show that (a) the knowledge encoded in WordNet is often insufficient, especially for anaphor' antecedent relations that exploit subjective or context-dependent knowledge; (b) for other-anaphora, the Web-based method outperforms the WordNet-based method; (c) for definite NP coreference, the Web-based method yields results comparable to those obtained using WordNet over the whole data set and outperforms the WordNet-based method on subsets of the data set; (d) in both case studies, the BNC-based method is worse than the other methods because of data sparseness. Thus, in our studies, the Web-based method alleviated the lexical knowledge gap often encountered in anaphora resolution and handled examples with context-dependent relations between anaphor and antecedent. Because it is inexpensive and needs no hand-modeling of lexical knowledge, it is a promising knowledge source to integrate into anaphora resolution systems.

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Author notes

School of Computing, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, LS2 9JT Leeds, UK.

School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, 2 Buccleuch Place, EH8 9LW Edinburgh, UK.