How to create an effective summary

Have you ever tried to summarize a text, for example when you were at school? Probably yes! The summarizing process is extremely important, both for studying and working. Summarizing means to extract the most relevant information from a text, with the ability to understand which they are from a contextual and semantic point of view. Basically, why summarizing is so important? Because it allows you to save time and to memorize in a simpler way the necessary concepts. 

Nowadays, we are literally sinking into the data. Data are everywhere – have you ever heard about the expression Data Deluge? –. Surfing on the web, we read words and words that we struggle to remember and everyday texts increase. Unstructured data, such as image, video and in particular text, are growing in exponential term. As professionals, we do not have time to read all these texts and, as companies, we have not the resources to read all the words written about our brands. How can we create an effective summary of all this content?

The characteristics of an effective summary 

Let’s come back to the basis. Which are the main characteristics of a good summary? We can say three: conciseness, objectivity, and accuracy.

First of all, you should be concise. It can be defined degree of density of a summary the degree of conciseness. For instance, a long article of thirty pages can be summarize in one page or even in few rows. Obviously, it is not only a matter of numbers of words, the more the degree of density is high, the more you have to be good in selecting information.

Secondly, it is very important to keep objectivity! While you are summarizing, you can be tempted by changing a little bit the author’s opinion. The important point is that the summary should contain the author’s opinion and it should not be biased by yours. Sometimes, choosing one word instead of another can have an enormous impact. Pay attention!

Last, conciseness should not affect accuracy. Summarizing is useful if and only if you are able to extract the same meaning from the long text. As a reader, you must understand the material thoroughly, at the beginning of your work you should extract which is the writer’s point!

Given these three characteristics, which are the rules you should follow to improve your summarizing ability? First, you could break down the text into sections, so that you have to summarize little sections. Among these, you can classify them: which piece is the main point? Which are the statements that support the main point? Which are the details that can be avoided? After you have created your summary, you should come back to the original text and check for accuracy and bias, better if you read it more than once.

Why summarizing is important in the workplace

Summarizing is not only a matter of students. In our workplace, we summarize text every day, sometimes even without realizing it. Think about emails, for instance when we have to recap what has been discussed in a meeting, or imagine a presentation, where we have to summarize a document in few slides. 

Even more important, in a difficult situation (for instance, a crisis or when the management should take an important decision), you should be able to look for information rapidly and extract from them the relevant concepts. 

Why you should use an automatic text summarization tool – PaperLit solution

Thanks to Natural Language Processing algorithms, tools for automatic summaries are more and more precise. Machines are able to read a text and to extract information in a smart way. This means that machines are not only able to reduce the number of words of a text, but they are able to understand both grammar and semantics of a text and to choose the most relevant content. By the way, a machine can be even better than humans in avoiding biased information!

Using an automatic text summarization tool, you can be more efficient in your work: the reading time will be reduced, the process of information selection will become easier, the indexing process will be more effective. Using this tool, your human resources can spend time in a more productive way.

PaperLit, tech company of Datrix Group, has developed an automatic text summarization tool, available for free. The tool, called Text Summarize, use Artificial Intelligence based algorithms, that PaperLit developed in its experience with content production, content distribution and data monetization. The tool support the different solutions of PaperLit to extract relevant information from text and, meanwhile, it can be used from everyone at this link. The technology allows the user to choose the degree of density needed – by picking up a percentage on the drop down – and comes out with a sensible summary in few seconds. 


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