An XML-enabled data extraction toolkit for web sources

Ling Liu, Calton Pu, Wei Han
2001 Information Systems  
The amount of useful semi-structured data on the web continues to grow at a stunning pace. Often interesting web data are not in database systems but in HTML pages, XML pages, or text files. Data in these formats are not directly usable by standard SQL-like query processing engines that support sophisticated querying and reporting beyond keyword-based retrieval. Hence, the web users or applications need a smart way of extracting data from these web sources. One of the popular approaches is to
more » ... ite wrappers around the sources, either manually or with software assistance, to bring the web data within the reach of more sophisticated query tools and general mediator-based information integration systems. In this paper, we describe the methodology and the software development of an XMLenabled wrapper construction systemFXWRAP for semi-automatic generation of wrapper programs. By XMLenabled we mean that the metadata about information content that are implicit in the original web pages will be extracted and encoded explicitly as XML tags in the wrapped documents. In addition, the query-based content filtering process is performed against the XML documents. The XWRAP wrapper generation framework has three distinct features. First, it explicitly separates tasks of building wrappers that are specific to a web source from the tasks that are repetitive for any source, and uses a component library to provide basic building blocks for wrapper programs. Second, it provides inductive learning algorithms that derive or discover wrapper patterns by reasoning about sample pages or sample specifications. Third and most importantly, we introduce and develop a two-phase code generation framework. The first phase utilizes an interactive interface facility to encode the source-specific metadata knowledge identified by individual wrapper developers as declarative information extraction rules. The second phase combines the information extraction rules generated at the first phase with the XWRAP component library to construct an executable wrapper program for the given web source. r
doi:10.1016/s0306-4379(01)00040-0 fatcat:5dxghttqgzgnjlu2dcy2bkprxa