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Journal Articles Ecological Informatics Year : 2023

Unsupervised classification to improve the quality of a bird song recording dataset


Open audio databases such as Xeno-Canto are widely used to build datasets to explore bird song repertoire or to train models for automatic bird sound classification by deep learning algorithms. However, such databases suffer from the fact that bird sounds are weakly labelled: a species name is attributed to each audio recording without timestamps that provide the temporal localization of the bird song of interest. Manual annotations can solve this issue, but they are time consuming, expert-dependent, and cannot run on large datasets. Another solution consists in using a labelling function that automatically segments audio recordings before assigning a label to each segmented audio sample. Although labelling functions were introduced to expedite strong label assignment, their classification performance remains mostly unknown. To address this issue and reduce label noise (wrong label assignment) in large bird song datasets, we introduce a data-centric novel labelling function composed of three successive steps: 1) time-frequency sound unit segmentation, 2) feature computation for each sound unit, and 3) classification of each sound unit as bird song or noise with either an unsupervised DBSCAN algorithm or the supervised BirdNET neural network. The labelling function was optimized, validated, and tested on the songs of 44 West-Palearctic common bird species. We first showed that the segmentation of bird songs alone aggregated from 10% to 83% of label noise depending on the species. We also demonstrated that our labelling function was able to significantly reduce the initial label noise present in the dataset by up to a factor of three. Finally, we discuss different opportunities to design suitable labelling functions to build high-quality animal vocalizations with minimum expert annotation effort.
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Dates and versions

hal-03990032 , version 1 (15-02-2023)



Félix Michaud, Jérôme Sueur, Maxime Le Cesne, Sylvain Haupert. Unsupervised classification to improve the quality of a bird song recording dataset. Ecological Informatics, 2023, pp.101952. ⟨10.1016/j.ecoinf.2022.101952⟩. ⟨hal-03990032⟩
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