From One Tree to a Forest: a Unified Solution for Structured Web Data Extraction

Structured data, in the form of entities and associated attributes, has been a rich web resource for search engines and knowledge databases. To efficiently extract structured data from enormous websites in various verticals (e.g., books, restaurants), much research effort has been attracted, but most existing approaches either require considerable human effort or rely on strong features that lack of flexibility. In this paper, we consider an ambitious scenario -- can we build a system that (1) is general enough to handle any vertical without re-implementation and (2) requires only one labeled example site from each vertical for training to automatically deal with other sites in the same vertical? In this paper, we propose a unified solution to demonstrate the feasibility of this scenario. Specifically, we design a set of weak but general features to characterize vertical knowledge (including attribute-specific semantics and inter-attribute layout relationships). Such features can be adopted in various verticals without redesign; meanwhile, they are weak enough to avoid over-fitting of the learnt knowledge to seed sites. For a given new site, the learnt knowledge is first applied to identify page-level candidate attribute values, while inevitably involve false positives. To remove noise, site-level information of the new site is then exploited as constraints to boost up the true values. The site-level information is derived in an unsupervised manner, without harm to the applicability of the solution. Promising experimental performance on 80 websites from 8 distinct verticals demonstrated the feasibility and flexibility of the proposed solution.

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In  Proceeding of the 34th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2011)

Publisher  Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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