October 3, 2006

Quotations in the News: Telling Facts from Rumors

Internet, October 3, 2006. A new Yandex service — Quotations in the News — helps look for statements made by different people in mass media stories. The most popular comments and the most extensively quoted personalities are featured on the main page of the service, giving the picture of the day with direct speech of the central characters. Following the press portraits, Quotations in the News is yet another implementation of fact extraction technology developed by Yandex.

With Quotations in the News, it takes seconds to find out, for example, what Vladimir Putin says about his successor or the Internet, what Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov thinks about bees, and who George Bush considers an enemy, how Grigory Yavlinsky's views on the Union of Right Forces (SPS) evolved, and what politicians spoke on the use of vehicle beacons.

"We hope that the new service will come in handy for everyone who seeks multiple perspectives on the news, for people who are interested in seeing different commentaries and assessments of the current events. The search for quotations in the news will help tell rumors from facts and find primary sources," — says Lev Gershenzon, leading developer of Yandex. "Besides, statements of public figures are often comical and absurd, and searching for all sorts of howlers may become a fun game."

The technology used for extracting quotations is based on a syntax analyzer and a module processing predicate structures containing communicative verbs and phrases. The technology singles out both direct speech in quotation marks and indirect speech conveyed by subordinate clauses ("Mr. Smith noted that...") and parenthetical clauses ("According to Mr. Smith, ..."). When identifying the author of a statement, the results of extraction of all facts about a person and a comprehensive analysis of the news item as a whole allow to differentiate between namesakes with a high degree of accuracy, even if the sentence containing a quotation has no other information beside the first and last names.

Quotations are another important type of information on newsmakers. A person’s press portrait has links to all the quotations and vice versa: for any name, the list of all quotations gives a link to the press portrait. The new service expands the reference section of Yandex.News service: in addition to a million press portraits, users can search by 3.5 million of quotations by more than 600,000 authors. Yandex.News service was launched six years ago, and its database currently stores more than 14 million information messages from 1,500 sources.

Elena Kolmanovskaya, Chief Editor
Michael Ushakov, Head of Yandex PR
Phone: +7 495 739-70-00
Fax: +7 495 739-70-70
E-mail: pr@yandex-team.ru

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