The need for Automatic Document Classification

The need for Automatic Document Classification

(Last Updated On: May 11, 2022)

The first steps in document classification are identifying a document’s text, tagging it, and categorizing the document based on the insights gained from text classification. Both supervised, and unsupervised machine learning approaches are used for automatic document classification in an intelligent document processing workflow. The model may give the user a confidence score and other associated metrics based on the method employed to express how confident the model is in terms of document classification accuracy.

Document categorization is a part of document processing that allows users to upload many documents at once and classify them according to their kinds. It makes it easier to process various document types by assigning them to the appropriate team member for processing, analyzing, and reviewing.

For publishers, insurance organizations, financial institutions, and other enterprises that receive a significant number of different document formats to handle, document classification activities can be a major bottleneck. Before extracting data and structuring it, they must first classify these papers into appropriate categories.

Why is it required to classify documents automatically?

While manual document classification can be extremely detailed and accurate, it has two significant drawbacks making it impractical: it also takes a long time and is subjective.

The amount of time it takes to categorize text is directly proportional to the amount of text. Consider the amount of content on a corporate intranet, all of a governmental institution’s regulations and laws, all of the news items in a newspaper’s archive, or even all of the info on the internet that could be useful for a company’s business—impossible it’s for humans to manage this volume of data in a reasonable amount of time.

This is where automatic document classification software comes in handy. It allows enterprises and organizations in every sector to organize content and make it available at any time easily. It is scalable, faster, and objective.

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Automatic Document Classification has several advantages

Automatic Document classification uses advanced machine learning to go beyond algorithmically classifying documents and provides the following benefits. 

  • Flexibility in the face of significantly changeable content: Document categorization uses powerful ML technology and AI augmentation to classify scanned automatically and digitized documents based on their content, even when the information is varied.
  • Time savings for employees: The need for human intervention and manual document classification, which consumes time and is potentially repetitious, is eliminated by automatic document classification.
  • Prevent data breaches: Automatic document classification enables businesses to collect and organize data more efficiently. This gesture aids in identifying PII (Personally Identifiable Information), lowering the likelihood of a data breach. The ability of companies to review and address sources of PII, eliminate redundant documents containing sensitive information, and retain vital PII is improved by the classification of sensitive data.

Steps in Automatic Document Classification

Automatic Document classification works on three levels in an IDP workflow, regardless of whether supervised or unsupervised learning techniques are used:

Level 1: Identifying the format of the file

Because IDP solutions work with various document formats, the first step is to figure out whether the file is a jpeg, png, pdf, tiff, or another type of file.

Level 2: Determining the structure of the document

Documents are classified into three groups based on their structure:-

  • Structured Documents: They have fixed templates, key-value pairs, layouts, and tables. The best examples are tax return forms and mortgage applications.
  • Semi-structured documents: These documents may include a consistent set of key-value pairs and tables, but their layouts and templates vary. The best example of a semi-structured document is an invoice.
  • Unstructured Documents: Documents with no structure are known as unstructured documents. There are no key-value pairs, tables, or formatting. Contracts best exemplify unstructured papers.
Level 3 – Determining the type of document

At this level, documents are categorized into different categories. There are several steps to this procedure: –

  1. Text identification/distinction from the background: This stage aims to identify/distinguish the text from the background. Binarization and noise reduction procedures enhance the quality of the document to be processed.
  2. Data set with tags: A statistical Natural Language Processing (NLP) classifier’s most significant component is the quality of the tagged dataset. The dataset must be large and high quality for the model to have enough information to distinguish one document type from others.
  3. Methods of classification: There are two sorts of classification methods:
  1. Visual Approach: In this method, computer vision examines the document’s visual structure without reading its language. It is based on the premise that information is set down in a document in specific places and patterns for distinct document types. The document is classified appropriately if the model can recognize certain patterns and separate them from other document categories. It occurs during the scanning process, which saves a significant amount of time.
  2. Text classification approach: The OCR reads the text from the documents, classifies the text, and then uses the information to classify the document. Text classification allows you to evaluate text at four levels: document, paragraph, sentence, and sub-sentence. Some prevalent classifications are naive Bayes classifier, Term frequency-Inverse document frequency, Artificial neural network, and k-nearest neighbors algorithm.

Best practices for getting started, in conclusion

Many people believe in the existence of a perfect algorithm that can automatically classify documents with little prior setup and produce high-quality results in any application. Unfortunately, no software can function well with only a few instances, much less autonomously. Instead, reliable automatic document classification software necessitates that we begin by establishing the requirements for content organization, followed by the approach. For further assistance, contact Klearstack today!

Ashutosh Saitwal
Ashutosh Saitwal

Ashutosh is the founder and director of the award winning KlearStack AI platform. You can catch him speaking at NASSCOM events around the world where he speaks and is an evangelist for RPA, AI, Machine Learning and Intelligent Document Processing.