When you eat something you usually say that is not good what is good but is good what you like. With automatic summarizer tools it’s exactly the same: while it’s hard to find the best summarize tool it’s easier to spot the one that is more adequate to your text to summarize.
If you have to sum up a scientific paper you must stress certain points, while when you summarize a piece of narrative you should adjust your text in a quite different way. Also the length of the text is important: one thing is summarizing a short article, one thing is to sum up a book of hundred of pages.
Of course another important element is if you only want a free service or if you are ready to spend some money on it. Usually paid services offer a more customized and accurate summarization, tailored on the text to summarize and on your audience. In any case, before choosing a tool you absolutely must clarify your goals and answer some questions. The right choice will come as a consequence.
How to choose the best tool: right questions lead to right answers
As we said, no summarizing tool is inherently better than another one, each one is instead suited to different circumstances. The first thing you have to do is clarify your goal (e.g. “I need to quickly summarize hundreds of texts so as to have a rough idea of their content” as opposed to “I want accurate summaries of some books to publish them on my blog” or to “I must review the scientific literature on this topic before writing my paper but I don’t have time to read everything and I want to have an idea of what could be more interesting to read thoroughly” ).
Once you have accomplished this first step you should be able to answer to the following questions:
- Who is going to use the tool? It should be very user friendly and easy to use or is it intended for tech savvy users?
- Do you need the tool to work alone (e.g. without human supervision) or do you have time and resources to refine by hand the tool’s outputs?
- Who will read the summary? Is it for internal or personal use or it will be open to the public?
- What are the most important aspects? You praise fastness over all or accuracy is the thing that matters the most? What percentage of error are you ready to tolerate?
- Estimate the learning curve: how much time are you disposed to invest in learning how to use the tool? It should be ready to use or you can invest some time in setting it up?
- How will the final result look? It should come out as simple text or it should be more polished, with paragraphs, html tags, etc?
- The tool should work alone or is going to be integrated with other tools you already have? For example, its outputs should it be used for text analysis? How much time and effort will you need to integrate it?
- Do you need only summarization services or you need an integrated business intelligence tool that is able not only to deal with the text to summarize but also to extract forecasts, perform generative tasks and so on? Is the tool scalable, e.g. you can start with a simpler version and then add modules?
- With what kind of files does it have to deal? Only .docs, also PDFs, multimedia files, etc?
- How much are you disposed to spend on it? Do you have a budget allocated for this activity?
- What are the advantages of adopting this particular tool?
So, how do I find the best summarize tool?
If you diligently answered to the above questions you should now have a clearer idea of the kind of tool you need. Surely if you own a business or you are an academic and you are looking for a summarize tool for professional purposes, we advise you to look for a professional service, because you probably cannot afford the time and efforts to deal with free services whose results – of course depending on the complexity of the text to summarize – will certainly have defects and errors and will need to be refined by human intervention.
Many companies offer free services that can be tried for a certain amount of time and in this way you can try before you buy. At PaperLit we do offer a free text summarize tool that works great, but if you have more complex text summarization needs, or if you need integrated solutions, based on machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, we can provide you with cutting edge solutions that can really add value and save you precious time. Contact us and tell us about your project to discover what we can do for you.