My objective is to classify objects that all belong to a certain category, based on a textual description of these objects by humans. My problem is not specific to a certain category of objects, but for sake of clarity I am going to give examples as if the objects I wanted to classify were movies.

To be precise:

  • the description contains both a judgement of the object, and a more objective description of the various parts of the object. For example: “This movie has great lines, and the scenario is well-though. It counterbalances the poor actor performance. Still, overall I think it's a very good movie”. This both contains information about different aspects of the movie, and provides a subjective review.
  • what I want is:
    1. a score for each object (like a movie rating), based on how appreciated it is;
    2. for a given object, "similar" objects (ie. if you liked this movie, you might also enjoy these), based on similar "features" each object has. For instance, a movie which was also well-written might be considered "similar" to the former example.
  • I also have access to a pre-existing classification of these objects. For instance, a movie might be labeled "action/thriller". This classification is too broad for my purposes (ie. not all "action/thriller" movies are similar), but it might be a good start.

I have though that to solve my problem, I could use sentiment analysis to give each object a score, and that natural language processing coupled with a feature space could do the trick for classifying objects.

The point is that I am unsure on how to proceed, because I am new to machine learning, natural language processing, and data sciences in general. I have nonetheless a CS and mathematical background.

Could you provide some insight on where to start? Are there libraries that already provide this kind of features?

This is a repost of this question, since it was not focused enough, and this forum seems more appropriate. It has been rewritten.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Search for 'Huggingface transformers' for a package that already does a lot of this. $\endgroup$
    – Brady Gilg
    Jul 26, 2021 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


Text vectorisation is a good way to have a reliable classification.

You have several libraries like doc2vec that you can use together with logistic regression or dimensional reduction technique like tSNE or UMAP. https://radimrehurek.com/gensim/auto_examples/tutorials/run_doc2vec_lee.html

On the other hand, you can also use libraries like BERT or TF-IDF:



  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the quick reply, but could you please provide a bit more details please, I am really a newbie in statistical and data science techniques. Also, I'll wait a bit to see if there are other leads proposed, if not I'll probably accept your answer. $\endgroup$
    – jthulhu
    Jul 26, 2021 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I would like some details about how to get data to train models, if required, because some of the articles you mentioned require having a dataset that is already labeled, and it is not my case. $\endgroup$
    – jthulhu
    Jul 26, 2021 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ I can't explain you every solution in detail, first because I don't know them all completely. All I can say as an intuition starting point, is that you need to transform your text data into probabilistic vectors, i.e. a matrix where words proximity are compared to each other. For instance "Cup" is 70% related to "tea" and 60% related to "coffee", but 0.5% to "dinosaur", etc. This is done through the learning process. Doc contents are processed the same way. Then you can classify them with many different techniques. Here is one quite well explained: youtube.com/watch?v=wvsE8jm1GzE $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2021 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, that is broadly what I though of too (I explained it in more details in the other post, but it was quite long and tedious). The problem is I don't really know how to do that in practice. $\endgroup$
    – jthulhu
    Jul 26, 2021 at 10:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In that case, my best recommendation is to start by a simple recommendation system using the predifined labels and extraction of key words from text (using NLTK) that you can evaluate with a basic sentiment analysis score, and then classify with a dimensional reduction technique or a logistic regression. Then increase complexity with text vectorisation/BERT/IDF. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2021 at 10:11

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