Northwestern University Information Technology
MorphAdorner Northwestern
Name Recognizer

Literary texts are filled with names of people and places. MorphAdorner includes a simple name recognizer for extracting names to allow building lists of characters and geographical settings. MorphAdorner uses a simple noun phrase pattern recognition method to locate probable names in a text. This is not a highly accurate procedure but it provides a useful baseline for further refinement.

MorphAdorner's name extraction process is as follows.

  1. Assign parts of speech to each word in the text.
  2. Locate noun phrases, e.g., the longest series of nouns bracketed by non-nouns.
  3. Assume noun phrases containing at least one proper noun are names.

Distinguishing a personal name from a location isn't so simple. MorphAdorner uses lists of proper names and place names, but there is considerable overlap between these in English. Even a human reader might have trouble determining in some cases whether a name refers to a place or a person. In the sentence "Chester provided arms for the mercenaries", does this refer to the Earl, the county, or another person named Chester? Even in context it might be impossible to be sure which is the referent.

You can try MorphAdorner's default name extractor online which uses the simple noun phrase method described above.

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