Join 10350+ others. No spamming.
I promise!

Follow us at github.



gregdurrett / berkeley-doc-summarizer


The Berkeley Document Summarizer is a learning-based, single-document summarization system that extracts source document content, exploits syntactic information to compress it, and uses coreference constraints to ensure clarity.



The Berkeley Document Summarizer is a learning-based single-document summarization system. It compresses source document text based on constraints from constituency parses and RST discourse parses. Moreover, it can improve summary clarity by reexpressing pronouns whose antecedents would otherwise be deleted or unclear.

NOTE: If all you're interested in is the New York Times dataset, you do not need to do most of the setup and preprocessing below. Instead, use the pre-built .jar and run the commands in the "New York Times Dataset" section under "Training" below.


The Berkeley Document Summarizer is described in:

"Learning-Based Single-Document Summarization with Compression and Anaphoricity Constraints" Greg Durrett, Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, and Dan Klein. ACL 2016.

See for papers and BibTeX.

Questions? Bugs? Email me at


Copyright (c) 2013-2016 Greg Durrett. All Rights Reserved.

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see


Models and Data

Models are not included in GitHub due to their large size. Download the latest models from These are necessary for both training the system (you need the EDU segmenter, discourse parser, and coreference model) as well as running it (you need the EDU segmenter, discourse parser, and summarization model, which contains the coreference model). All of these are expected in the models/ subdirectory.

We also require number and gender data produced by Shane Bergsma and Dekang Lin in in "Bootstrapping Path-Based Pronoun Resolution". Download this, untar/gzip it, and put it at data/ (default path the system expects it to be at).


For solving ILPs, our system relies on GLPK. The easiest way to install GLPK is with homebrew. Additionally, when running the system, you must have glpk-java-1.1.0.jar on the build path (already done if you're using sbt) as well as make sure the Java Native Interface (JNI) libraries are accessible. These allow the GLPK Java bindings to interact with the native GLPK code.

You can try this out with edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.GLPKTest; if this class runs without error, you're good! If you do get an error, you may need to augment the Java library path with the location of the libglpk_java libraries as follows:

-Djava.library.path="<current library path>:<location of libglpk_java libraries>"

On OS X, this may be located in /usr/local/lib/jni. attempts to set this automatically, but may not work for your system.

Building from source

The easiest way to build is with SBT:

then run

sbt assembly

which will compile everything and build a runnable jar.

You can also import it into Eclipse and use the Scala IDE plug-in for Eclipse

Running the system

The two most useful main classes are edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.Main and edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.Summarizer. The former is a more involved harness for training and evaluating the system on the New York Times corpus (see below for how to acquire this corpus), and the latter simply takes a trained model and runs it. Both files contain descriptions of their functionality and command-line arguments.

An example run on new data is included in The main prerequisite for running the summarizer on new data is having that data preprocessed in the CoNLL format with constituency parses, NER, and coreference. For a system that does this, see the Berkeley Entity Resolution System. The test/ directory already contains a few such files.

The summarizer then does additional processing with EDU segmentation and discourse parsing. These use the models that are by default located in models/edusegmenter.ser.gz and models/discoursedep.ser.gz. You can control these with command-line switches.

The system is distributed with several pre-trained variants:

  • summarizer-extractive.ser.gz: a sentence-extractive summarizer
  • summarizer-extractive-compressive.ser.gz: an extractive-compressive summarizer
  • summarizer-full.ser.gz: an extractive-compressive summarizer with the ability to rewrite pronouns and additional coreference features and constraints


New York Times Dataset

The primary corpus we use for training and evaluation is the New York Times Annotated Corpus (Sandhaus, 2007), LDC2008T19. We distribute our preprocessing as standoff annotations which replace words with (line, char start, char end) triples, except for some cases where words are included manually (e.g. when tokenization makes our data non-recoverable from the original file). A few scattered tokens are included explicitly, plus roughly 1% of files that our system couldn't find a suitable alignment for.

To prepare the dataset, first you need to extract all the XML files from 2003-2007 and flatten them into a single directory. Not all files have summaries, so not all of these will be used. Next, run

mkdir train_corefner
java -Xmx3g -cp <jarpath> edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.preprocess.StandoffAnnotationHandler \
  -inputDir train_corefner_standoff/ -rawXMLDir <path_to_flattened_NYT_XMLs> -outputDir train_corefner/

This will take the train standoff annotation files and reconstitute the real files using the XML data, writing to the output directory. Use eval instead of train to reconstitute the test set.

To reconstitute abstracts, run:

java -Xmx3g -cp <jarpath> edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.preprocess.StandoffAnnotationHandler \
  -inputDir train_abstracts_standoff/ -rawXMLDir <path_to_flattened_NYT_XMLs> -outputDir train_abstracts/ \
  -tagName "abstract"

and similarly swap out for eval appropriately.

ROUGE Scorer

We bundle the system with a version of the ROUGE scorer that will be called during execution. hardcodes command-line arguments used in this work and in Hirao et al. (2013)'s work. The system expects this in the rouge/ROUGE/ directory under the execution directory, along with the appropriate data files (which we've also bundled with this release).

See edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.RougeComputer.evaluateRougeNonTok for a method you can use to evaluate ROUGE in a manner consistent with our evaluation.

Training the system

To train the full system, run:

java -Xmx80g -cp <jarpath> -Djava.library.path=<library path>:/usr/local/lib/jni edu.berkeley.nlp.summ.Main \
  -trainDocsPath <path_to_train_conll_docs> -trainAbstractsPath <path_to_train_summaries> \
  -evalDocsPath <path_to_eval_conll_docs> -evalAbstractsPath <path_to_eval_summaries> -abstractsAreConll \
  -modelPath "models/trained-model.ser.gz" -corefModelPath "models/coref-onto.ser.gz" \
  -printSummaries -printSummariesForTurk \

where <jarpath>, <library path>, and the data paths are instantiated accordingly. The system requires a lot of memory due to caching 25,000 training documents with annotations.

To train the sentence extractive version of the system, add:

-doPronounReplacement false -useFragilePronouns false -noRst

To train the extractive-compressive version, add:

-doPronounReplacement false -useFragilePronouns false

The results you get using this command should be:

  • extractive: ROUGE-1 recall: 38.6 / ROUGE-2 recall: 23.3
  • extractive-compressive: ROUGE-1 recall: 42.2 / ROUGE-2 recall: 26.1
  • full: ROUGE-1 recall: 41.9 / ROUGE-2 recall: 25.7

(Results are slightly different from those in the paper due to minor changes for this release.)