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Benchmarking for keyword extraction methodologies in maintenance work orders



Thurston B. Sexton, Michael P. Brundage, Melinda Hodkiewicz, Thomas Smoker


Maintenance has largely remained a human-knowledge centered activity, with the primary records of maintenance activity being text-based maintenance work orders (MWOs) that attempt to encode the diagnostic processes of technicians. However, the bulk of maintenance research does not currently attempt to quantify tacit human knowledge. Meanwhile, although this knowledge can be rich with useful contextual and system-level information, the underlying quality of data in MWO's often suffers from misspellings, domain-specific (or even workforce specific) jargon, and abbreviations. This prevents its immediate usage in analyses. Approaches to making this data computable --- by translating unstructured text into a formal schema or system --- must therefore perform a mapping from informal technical language to some computable format. Keyword spotting (or, extraction) has proven a valuable tool in reducing manual efforts while structuring data, by providing a systematic methodology to create computable knowledge. This technique searches for known vocabulary in a corpus and maps them to designed higher level concepts, shifting the primary effort away from structuring the MWOs themselves, toward creating a dictionary of domain specific terms and the knowledge that they represent. The presented work compares rules-based keyword extraction to data-driven tagging assistance, through quantitative and qualitative discussion of the key advantages and disadvantages. This will enable maintenance practitioners to select an appropriate approach to datafication that provides needed functionality at minimal cost and effort.
Proceedings Title
2018 Annual Conference of the Prognostics and Health Management Society
Conference Dates
September 24-27, 2018
Conference Location
Philadelphia, PA


Maintenance, nlp, tagging, manufacturing, data structure


Sexton, T. , Brundage, M. , Hodkiewicz, M. and Smoker, T. (2018), Benchmarking for keyword extraction methodologies in maintenance work orders, 2018 Annual Conference of the Prognostics and Health Management Society, Philadelphia, PA, [online], (Accessed June 24, 2024)


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Created September 24, 2018, Updated March 12, 2020