Document alignment

In addition to providing a facility for comparing documents using the same algorithm the scorer uses, MAT also provides a weaker capability, which we call document alignment. In this method, the annotations for the documents being aligned are simply viewed on the same document view; the comparison between the annotations is left to the interpretation of the user. This strategy only works with span annotations; while you can align documents containing relation annotations, you won't see the annotations. This function was introduced before MAT was able to deal with spanless annotations, and while the comparison view is more informative, there's no reason to remove this function.

As in document comparison, documents may be aligned if they have the identical underlying signal.

Selecting documents for alignment

From the file menu, select "Align files...". You'll be presented with a modal dialog that looks like this:

[dialog start]

From this dialog, you must first select a task. Once you do, you'll be able to make a selection from the "Align:" menu. This menu contains a list of all the available documents which have been loaded with the selected task (including workspace documents), plus an option to "Load document...". Select an element and press the "Go!" button, and the document will be listed:


[first doclist]

Once the first document is selected, only documents with a matching underlying signal which haven't been selected previously will be available for selection:

[next docmenu]

The "Load document..." option will place another modal dialog at the front which allows you to select a document in the usual way. Once you open this document, it too will be listed in the "Align documents" dialog:


The elements in the "Align documents" document list can be reordered. You can select as many documents as you like. Once at least two documents have been selected, the "Align" button will be enabled.

[full doclist]

Before you press the "Align" button, you might want to customize the alignment presentation.

Customizing the presentation

You have a number of options available to you for your alignment presentation. You can choose where the annotations for a given document will be shown (above, behind, or below the text) and whether to associate a mnemonic initial with a given document.

To the left of each entry in the "Align documents" dialog you'll see either "[Reference]", or a menu with the values "above" and "below". The reference can be selected by clicking the radio button, as instructed; the reference document is always placed behind the text. The menus can be used to place the remaining documents either above or below the text; the document annotations for those documents will be stacked in the order in which the documents are listed.

Below each entry is a place to enter an mnemonic initial, in the "Initial:" field. This initial will appear in the list of documents at the head of the alignment display, and also in the annotation description at the bottom of the alignment display when you hover your mouse over the annotation. If no initial is provided, a number will be assigned.

Here's the alignment dialogue above with the documents placed in their intended positions, and initials provided:

[modified doclist]

Viewing the result

Now, press the "Align" button. Your window will look like this:

[comparison pane]

Note that the documents are listed in the panel on the right, with their initials and positions, and that the mouse in this example is hovering over one of the annotations from the document corresponding to annotator A.

At this point, if you like, you can reconcile the documents in this alignment via "File -> Reconcile these documents".