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FACTO: A Fact Lookup Engine Based on Web Tables

Xiaoxin Yin, Wenzhao Tan, and Chao Liu


Recently answers for fact lookup queries have appeared on major search engines. For example, for the query Barack Obama date of birth Google directly shows “4 August 1961” above its regular results. In this paper, we describe FACTO, an end-to-end system for answering fact lookup queries for web search. FACTO extracts structured data from tables on the web, aggregates and cleans such data and stores them in a database. Given a web search query, FACTO will decide if it asks for facts in this database, and provides the most confident answer when possible. FACTO achieves higher precision and comparable coverage comparing with the fact lookup engines by Google and, although FACTO is developed by a very small team. We present the challenges and our solutions in developing every component of FACTO. Some solutions are based on existing technologies, and many others are novel approaches proposed by us.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published in20th Int’l. World Wide Web Conf. (WWW’11)
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