Jump to Content

Selective Labeling: How to Radically Lower Data-Labeling Costs for Document Extraction Models

Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, ACL, pp. 3847-3860


Building automatic extraction models for visually rich documents like invoices, receipts, bills, tax forms, etc. has received significant attention lately. A key bottleneck in developing extraction models for new document types is the cost of acquiring the several thousand high-quality labeled documents that are needed to train a model with acceptable accuracy. In this paper, we propose selective labeling as a solution to this problem. The key insight is to simplify the labeling task to provide “yes/no” labels for candidate extractions predicted by a model trained on partially labeled documents. We combine this with a custom active learning strategy to find the predictions that the model is most uncertain about. We show through experiments on document types drawn from 3 different domains that selective labeling can reduce the cost of acquiring labeled data by 10× with a negligible loss in accuracy.