Google Research

ROPE: Reading Order Equivariant Positional Encoding for Graph-based Document Information Extraction

Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) (2021)


Natural reading orders of words are crucial for information extraction from form-like documents. Despite recent advances in Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs) on modeling spatial layout patterns of documents, they have limited ability to capture reading orders of given word-level node representations in a graph. We propose Reading Order Equivariant Positional Encoding (ROPE), a new positional encoding technique designed to apprehend the sequential presentation of words in documents. ROPE generates unique reading order codes for neighboring words relative to the target word given a word-level graph connectivity. We study two fundamental document entity extraction tasks including word labeling and word grouping on the public FUNSD dataset and a large-scale payment dataset. We show that ROPE consistently improves existing GCNs with a margin up to 8.4% F1-score.

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