Honours Year Project Report

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection)

By

Lee Chee How

Department of Computer Science School of Computing National University of Singapore 2003 / 2004

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection)

________________________________________________________________________

Honours Year Project Report

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection)

By

Lee Chee How

Department of Computer Science School of Computing National University of Singapore 2003 / 2004

Project: Advisor:

H79010 Assistant Professor Kan Min-Yen

Deliverables: Report: Program: 1 Volume 1 CD

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PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection)

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Abstract
Web documents that look similar often use different HTML tags to achieve their layout effect. These tags make it difficult for a machine to find text or images of interest. PARCELS is a Java backend system designed to classify different components of a web page by obtaining the logical structure from its layout and stylistic characteristics. Each component is given a PARCELS label which identifies its purpose, like Main Content, Links, etc. A recall and precision of 71.9% is obtained. This backend system is currently released under GPL.

Subject Descriptors:

I.5.2 I.5.4 I.7.2 I.7.5

Style guides Text Processing Format and notation Document Analysis

Keywords:

Text Processing, Logical structure of web pages, Segmentation of web pages, Classification of web page components / segments

Implementation Software and Hardware:

Intel Pentium Centrino processor, 512 MB DDR RAM, Windows / UNIX / Linux, Java SDK 1.4.2

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PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection)

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Acknowledgement
There are many people whom helped me accomplish the work for this thesis. I would like to thank my partner, Sandra, who has worked along side with me in formulating the PARCELS toolkits. She is in charge of the textual engine.

I would also like to thank the people who release their tools and codes under GNU Public License (GPL) or Open Source. They have made our work on PARCELS easier by not re-inventing the wheel. In return, PARCELS is released under GPL as well.

Over the past year, there’s one person whom I owe the greatest thanks. During the year, Assistant Professor Kan Min-Yen truly took me under his wing and guided me in countless ways. I would like to thank him for all his support and patience I have received for the past year.

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....................................................25 Example of Co-Training Classification............................................................6 Patterns for Visual Separator Detection .........................................................27 Distribution of HTML Structure Tags....................9 9 Regions on Screen...................................................................................................................................6 Observations: Related Work vs......17 PARCELS labels and purposes ...................................12 National Geographic News Site .......16 Stylistic Observations on Figure 8 ..........................................................................................................................................15 Resultant DOM Tree Representation .......19 PARCELS labels’ Stylistic Features ............................ A3 ________________________________________________________________________ iv ............................................PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ List of Figures Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4: Figure 5: Figure 6: Figure 7: Figure 8: Figure 9: Figure 10: Figure 11: Figure 12: Figure 13: Figure 14: Figure 15: Figure 16: VIPS Representation ...................................15 Partial DOM Tree Representation...............23 Breakdown of features in Feature Vector...............................................5 Cues for segmentation of web pages ............................................................................................. News Articles ..........25 Preliminary Investigation of Results .....................................................................................................................................................................24 Co-Training Flowchart...............................................

...........1.......3.......................................11 Division / Span Structure .........................................................1 3..................................................................1 4..1 5......3.......5........1 3..................................................................ii Acknowledgement ........1 5....2 4..................................4 4..........11 Ordering of Tables by Depth........................1 Related Works ............................ Analysis of HTML Structures.............3 Background Analysis .................................................................................5 4........................................................................................1................3..........................................................18 ________________________________________________________________________ v ......2 DOM Tree Parser.................11 Position of Cells ......................................... iii List of Figures.............................8 4..........................................................1..7 Stylistic Properties ..6 Body..7 3........................4 4.............................................................................13 Priority of Layers .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Formulation of the PARCELS toolkits .......13 Other Structures .............................................................................................PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Table of Contents Abstract .........................................................1........................................................................................................................3 4..........................................................12 Position of Division / Span..............iv Table of Contents.....................4........... Applications of PARCELS .16 PARCELS Tags for News Domain ......................................................10 Grouping of Cells by Value..................................................10 Table Structure...................................10 Paragraph ..........................................................................................14 Parser ..............................................................................................10 Flow of Cells.....14 DOM Tree..2 4......................................12 Layers Structure ..........................10 4............................1 2............................................................................. 3...........1 1.....................3.............................1 4..........7 Structural Properties..............2 5..........................v 1....................................................................................3 4.................................................... Motivations ................13 5.........................................................2 Analysis of News sites ........................................................1 4...................................1 4.......................................................................................................................14 5............................................................................

................................1 Future Work.......................................................................................................................................................29 References .........................23 Boostexter .......24 Co-Training...........1 7.....................................1 7.....2 6.............1...............................................................................................3 6...................2 Preliminary Investigation of Results .........................1 6.....24 Stylistic and Textual Engine.......................27 7...............1 6............................................................................................................31 Appendix A – Distribution of HTML Structural Tags .....................................2 6...............................20 PARCELS Labels vs..........................................1................................................................. Support Vector Machine ........................................................27 Detailed Investigation of Results .20 6..........3............24 Analysis of Results ........................29 8...................... B1 ________________________________________________________________________ vi ....20 Formulation of Feature Vector ...... Conclusion ..PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 6.................. Stylistic Features.............................................................................................28 8................................. A1 Appendix B – Listing of Features in Feature Vector ........................................................................................................................................... Machine Learning and Co-Training .............................

Essentially. (Cai.g. accessing relevant information is by no means an easy task. Yu. 2003). 2003) and (Gupta. Web pages of any nature can be applied to PARCELS. It is true that web pages are increasing at an exponential rate. Thus. Wen and Ma. PARCELS consists of 2 engines – One on the textual detection of web pages (Lai. Cai. e. 1. 2003). none of the solutions address the problem exactly. Pages that look similar often use different HTML tags to achieve their layout effects and this makes it difficult for a machine to find relevant fields of interest. Coded in Java. (DiPasquo.g. e. we will be discussing on the stylistic detection engine. 1998). the other on the stylistic detection of web pages. it currently does not live up to this definition. PARCELS is a backend system designed to address this problem.1 Applications of PARCELS PARCELS can be applied to many real life applications today: • Efficient web page reading ________________________________________________________________________ 1 . However. Motivations Although the Web Wide Web (WWW) is defined as “the universe of network-accessible information. In this documentation. There are existing projects which tackle part of the problem. countless projects were targeted at ways of using machines to harness this knowledge. Wen and Ma. UNIX and Linux. Kaiser. Neistadt and Grimm.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 1. 2004). PARCELS is executable on major platforms like Windows. 1998) by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). (Yu. due to the semi-structured nature of raw HTML pages. However. Semantic Web. the embodiment of human knowledge” (DiPasquo.

• Reducing size for Data Archiving Given the number of web pages today. we will touch on how we formulate the PARCELS toolkits which is our engine. we can target the search and mining on the relevant components. Lastly. the embodiment of human knowledge” mentioned earlier. As we can see. Following that. This allows better access of “the universe of network-accessible information. • Classification of web page cluster through web design We can identify web pages of the same nature using the logical structure of the web pages. reducing the size needed. In the next few chapters. like reading a News articles without all the advertisements. With PARCELS. we can extract the title and/or main body of any web pages. PARCELS greatly improves the effectiveness and efficiency of our everyday tasks. This greatly improves the accuracy and efficiency of the search. we can remove items of lower priorities like site links. advertisements and images of no relevance. we can proceed with other tasks like archiving the documents in the correct domain. ________________________________________________________________________ 2 .PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ With PARCELS. With this classification. Thus. we will describe our Machine Learning techniques and perform an analysis on the results. archiving these pages will require enormous amounts of disk space. • Improving results for Web Search / Mining With information on the layout of the pages. This greatly improves the efficiency of retrieving the relevant information on the WWW. we will do an analysis on prominent web pages and their HTML structures.

The HTML Struct Tree is intended to represent how a human would parse word relationships on a web page due to its layout. we will look at some of the more prominent research on text processing and information retrieval on the Web. the results are better than those not using the HTML Struct Tree. In this section.1%. We reaffirm the belief that the stylistic properties are useful in classifying segments of web pages. As PARCELS is divided into textual and stylistic engines. Next. For companies’ locations.4%. Related Works Our research is closely related to several areas which have been heavily worked on. the thesis reported a precision of 66. Thus. and that by looking at the HTML formatting in addition to the text on a page. For companies’ names.0% and recall of 27. 1998). one can improve performance in tasks such as learning to classify segments of documents. layout improves the classification. we noted from related works that most papers modified the representation of the DOM Tree: • In (DiPasquo. the thesis argues that there is information in the layout of a web page. The focus of the thesis was to extract the names of companies from the web pages and the locations where they have operations in. 1998). As we can see.6% and recall of 64. we must reaffirm our basis that there is information in the layout and stylistic properties of web pages: • In (DiPasquo. they modified the DOM Tree and called it the HTML Struct Tree. As web pages are meant to be ________________________________________________________________________ 3 . the thesis reported a precision of 71.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 2. Firstly.

Using the HTML Struct Tree. we will focus on the main framework. As a result. a Machine Learner was applied. VIPS uses a series of heuristics and detection to achieve this.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ read by humans. we will be using the normal DOM Tree. there is one difficulty they faced: Accurate feedback is impossible due to noises like navigation. if parsed correctly. Instead of changing the structure. their new method uses the VIsionsbased Page Segmentation (VIPS) algorithm. 2003). they are able to improve the precision and recall for second round search. • In (Yu et al. 2003). From the tree. In this release. the paper describes a new method to detect the semantic content of a web page. The usage of feedback described in this paper is good but it will not be included this version of PARCELS. ________________________________________________________________________ 4 . It simulates how a user understands web layout structure based on his visual perception. As mentioned earlier. the paper proposes a new web content structure based on visual representation of web pages. the result is better than those not using the HTML Struct Tree. Thus. VIPS is used to eliminate such noises by using a tree to represent the flow of text. Instead of a DOM Tree method. it is observed that topics of similar content are grouped together. we made modifications to our parsers instead. • In (Cai et al. tag-tree independent approach to detect web content structure. The new structure presents an automatic top-down. decoration and interaction. The main drawback of this paper is that they are handling web pages with linear style (no tables or layers). This ensures easier portability of our codes for other uses. However. the relationship between objects on the page can be captured. They proposed that by using local feedback to add keywords from top ranking documents.

Personally. The main difference is they are handling other Control Structures like tables (Figure 1).PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Figure 1: VIPS Representation Comparing to other existing techniques. we still feel that using DOM-based Tree with an improved DOM Tree parser to handle tables. we would need to observe their heuristics on stylistic detection: • In (Yu et al. Lastly. the new approach is independent to underlying documentation representation such as HTML and works well even when the HTML structure is far different from layout structure. This paper is also using the VIPS algorithm as described previously. while preserving the generic-ness of the web page. the heuristics used to split contents into blocks are as follows: ________________________________________________________________________ 5 . 2003). 2003) and (Cai et al. We would do a comparison on this in the Chapter 7 (Analysis of Results). layers and frames will be more effective.

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Cue Tag Cue Color Cue Purpose HTML tags like <HR> are used to split the web page into blocks of text. ________________________________________________________________________ 6 . most of the related works focus on how humans interpret the web pages based on the layout and stylistic properties. we shall proceed with our analysis on the layout and stylistic properties of real web pages. Thus. Difference in the background colors between 2 blocks of text means they belongs to 2 different blocks. Figure 2: Cues for segmentation of web pages Visual Separator Detection used: Pattern Distance Tag Font Color Purpose Distance between blocks on both sides of separator Position of tags like <HR> Difference in formatting on both sides of separator Difference in background color on both sides of separator Figure 3: Patterns for Visual Separator Detection The heuristics and detection methods used in VIPS are very useful and are included in PARCELS. The detailed set can be found in Chapter 5 (Formulation of PARCELS toolkits). This is our main focus for the stylistic engine as well. Size Cue Difference in the font sizes between 2 blocks of text means they belongs to 2 different blocks. it means they belong to 2 different blocks. As we can see. We further extended the set of heuristics to suit our purposes. Text Cue If one block contains HTML tags and the other does.

Thus. and that parsing the HTML formatting appropriately can improve traditional text processing (DiPasquo. <table> tags are widely used and will continue to be so (due to compatibility reasons with existing systems). Articles are also updated daily and read by millions of people. <div>.1 Structural Properties A study was made to find out the dominant layout structure of these sites. 3.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 3. Background Analysis Based on the argument that there is information inherent in the layout of each page. The News sites were analyzed for their structural and stylistic properties.1. all the News sites are using tables for their main layout. Furthermore. • Structural tag <table> is most widely used In Year 2004. We will be contrasting these 2 analyses to pin point the trend of layout structural tags usage. A related study was also made to News articles in Year 2000. it makes sense to use this domain as a starting point for our analysis. we found out that 10 out of the 12 News sites are using tables as their dominant layout structure. we would be able to parse pages of other domains with relative ease. a total of 12 popular news sites were selected. As we observed. 3. articles in the News domain are feature rich with complex layout structures. ________________________________________________________________________ 7 . In Year 2000. News articles are usually reader friendly but not machine friendly. 1998). we decided to carry out an analysis on News web pages.1 Analysis of News sites To facilitate our analysis. Figure 16 in Appendix A gives the breakdown of the statistics of <table>. With the ability to parse news articles. <span> and <layer> tags used.

we noted some of the stylistic aspect which will be useful to us. ________________________________________________________________________ 8 . <div> and <span> structural tags for the development of PARCELS.1. we applied our knowledge of the stylistic characteristics to News articles today. For the rendering position of <div> and <span> tags on the screen. 2002). we would have to look into the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) files to obtain the layout properties. Color of links for different segments The color of links in the navigation bar is sometimes different from the links in the main content and supporting content.2 Stylistic Properties Having determined the dominant structural tags. navigation links and related articles’ links are normally grouped together. 2003) and (Cai et al. the number of links for that segment will be significantly higher. 2003). Thus. 3. In (Ivory and Hearst. The conversion is likely for speed issues (do not need to wait for pages to load) and easier maintenance of web pages. Related Work Number of links for different segments Our Observations Sitemaps. (Yu et al. • Structural tag <layer> is not used This tag is obsolete due to increased usage of CSS with the z-index properties. we proceed with the analysis on the stylistic properties of the pages.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ • Structural tag <div> and <span> is gaining popularity 2 of the News sites have converted to using <div> tags for their main layout. we will be focusing on <table>. (Ivory. Next. 2003). Style of links for different segments The style of links in the navigation bar. related articles and advertisements are different from the links in the main content and supporting content. Thus.

Figure 4: Observations: Related Work vs. main content. Images located in between segments with high density text will likely be images supporting the content. Font sizes for different segments Headers. we will be using these styles to aid in our classification. ________________________________________________________________________ 9 . Font size will be a good indicator for some of our component classification. captions and newsletters are in different font styles from the main content. News Articles These characteristics of News sites will act as the foundation for our learning process in Chapter 6 (Machine Learning and Co-training). Size of Images This is sometimes useful in determining whether the image is an advertisement as they usually come in fixed sizes. Font styles for different segments Headers. As such.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Number of images for different segments Sitemaps and navigations links are more probable to have more images than other segments. support contents and captions all have different font sizes.

we will place more emphasis on the analysis of table structure. Hurst and Jenson. Functional view is a description of how the information presentation aspects of tables embody a decision structure or reading path. This determines the order of the tables (Hurst et al. ________________________________________________________________________ 10 . 4. we are referring to HTML tags that will affect the layout position of the contents of a page. 1997). 1999) and (Cohen.3. 4. There are a few papers dedicated to the study of tables. All HTML documents must contain a body tag. (Hurst.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 4.3 Table Structure From the analysis we did in Chapter 3. 1997). PARCELS uses these tags to specify the basic unit for a block of text.1 Flow of Cells The flow of cells is known as the functional view of a table. e. Analysis of HTML Structures In this chapter. As in Control Structure. we will do an analysis on the HTML Control Structure that will be used in used in PARCELS. tables are the most prominent structure on the Web now. 4. 4. Thus.g. (Hurst and Douglas. 2002). The usage of paragraph tag is pretty straightforward.1 Body The <body> tag is the trivial case in HTML Structure. This is where the layout of a web page begins.2 Paragraph The next fundamental tag is the Paragraph <p> tags. These papers aided us in our analysis of tables.

The value is calculated using the type of data located in the cell and the word density of that particular cell. From this. If we follow that flow of layout. 4. we observed it is possible to classify some of the segments using such characteristics. This will ensure a better classification of that particular segment.3. grouping the cells by value will enable us to understand the contents better. we will be able to know the position of this cell with respect to any nested tables.3. With the visual position tag. Table-based extraction is done by tagging each cell with a visual position tag (Cohen et al. Based on this.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ The flow of cells is important as we know there’s a usual layout on how webmasters design their website. Cells of the same value are often closely related to each other. ________________________________________________________________________ 11 . Furthermore. we can gather the following information.3. First and foremost.2 Grouping of Cells by Value Grouping of cells by value will aid in understanding how the webmasters intend the tables to be read (Hurst. it is important to find the relation between nested tables and how each cell affects another cell.3 Ordering of Tables by Depth Nested tables are very common in web designing today. we would need to order each cell by their depth. 1999). From the News site we analyzed. Thus.4 Position of Cells The position of cells is important for information extraction. it would be significantly easier to classify the segments correctly. 2002). 4. the number of nested tables for each cell is different. 4.

4. 4. Thus. Region 1 Region 4 Region 7 Region 2 Region 5 Region 8 Region 3 Region 6 Region 9 Figure 5: 9 Regions on Screen ________________________________________________________________________ 12 . the position of a certain block of text is a major factor which contributes to the structure of a web site. For this. We can assign positional value to both Division and Span in CSS. these layouts will be even similar. Furthermore.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ • • • Cut-in header: Cells related to a particular header cell in a table. we would need to estimate its position on the screen. CMS are scripts that are used by webmasters to generate the layout and content of the site. 4.1 Position of Division / Span As we know. Column header: The overall column header of the table (if any). we will split the screen into 9 regions. it would be useful in our classification. If they are using Content Management System (CMS). there are some layout formats webmasters will follow when designing a web site. Span tag may or may not be a Control Structure tag depending on whether it has a position allocated to it. using the position of cells will be useful in our classification. Division tag is a Control Structure tag as it will create a Break <br> effect.4 Division / Span Structure Division <div> and Span <span> are two tags that are gaining popularity in recent times. Row header: The overall row header of the table (if any). If a positional value is allocated.

1 Priority of Layers Priority of a particular layer depends on the value of z-index.6 Other Structures We recognize that there are other structures on the Web today. position of each layer is important as mentioned in Section 4. PARCELS focuses on single documents in this release. Thus. 4. layer B has a z-index of 10 and layer A and B overlap each other.1. In terms of classifications. For example. the higher it will appear on top of other layers. ________________________________________________________________________ 13 .5. That block of text will be in region 9. Furthermore.5 Layers Structure Due to advancement in HTML and CSS specifications.4. the functionalities of Layers can be emulated in Division and Span (z-index in CSS). then layer B will appear on top of layer A.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ We will locate the maximum position on the X and Y axis. Layers will be handled in the same way as Division and Span. if layer A has a zindex of 0. However. The rest of the regions will be sub divided according to this maximum position. The higher the value of zindex. Thus. The remaining blocks of text will be placed into each of these regions according to their X-Y coordinates. 4. like Frames and Cross Documents structure. they will be included in future releases. z-index will also be useful as segments like main contents will likely be on top of other segments like background images. 4.

1. Since a web page is designed to be read by humans. a program called Tidy is used to correct such errors. ________________________________________________________________________ 14 . we need to ensure the HTML coding is sound. if we are able to parse it properly. we need their DOM Trees. Formulation of the PARCELS toolkits After our analysis on web pages and HTML structures. • The ordering of nodes in the DOM Tree is preserved in that children are ordered from left to right in the order they appear on that page.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 5. a DOM Tree is created. we would now formulate our basic toolkits for PARCELS. We would focus on the stylistic engine in this chapter. This DOM Tree is created using the default Node class in Java. Thus. Figure 7 shows the partial DOM Tree that is created. Each parent-child relationship loosely means they are directly related.1 DOM Tree To manipulate with the styles of web pages. 5.1 DOM Tree Parser A DOM Tree parser stimulates how humans parse words on a web page due to its layout. we will be able to capture the right relationship between segments correctly. Figure 6 shows a web page as viewed in Internet Explorer 6. Before we create the DOM Tree. 5. Due to the complexity of web pages. A DOM Tree is an n-ary tree in which each node corresponds to an HTML tag on the page. • The parent-child relationship in the tree implies that the child is in the scope of the parents. there will likely be errors. After parsing it through Tidy. This relationship is what we defined as the “Logical Structure”.

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Figure 6: National Geographic News Site Document head body title meta … table table … Text tbody … tr td td Text Text Figure 7: Partial DOM Tree Representation ________________________________________________________________________ 15 .

________________________________________________________________________ 16 . Each block of text is split in a human readable way. given the following block of HTML codes: <body><b>Tom Mitchell’s <i>Machine Learning</i> Website</b></body> The resultant DOM Tree is shown in Figure 8. we will get 3 blocks of text: “Tom Mitchell’s”. For example.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ The next section describes how our parser parses the relevant information out of this DOM Tree.1. rather than how it is represented in a DOM Tree.2 Parser This section will focus on the 2 major functions of the DOM Tree parser. “Machine Learning” and “Website”. 5. • Splitting of Text from DOM Tree The parser will split the web page into blocks of text (basic unit). body b Tom Mitchell’s i Website Machine Learning Figure 8: Resultant DOM Tree Representation If we were to split it as how the DOM Tree represents it.

2). This block of text will then be used in the Text Detection Engine of PARCELS (Lai. a division <div>. • Parsing of Styles from DOM Tree For each block of text. given the block of text and DOM Tree in Figure 8. A Control Structure can be a paragraph <p>. a span <span>. 2004). that’s not how human interpret it. we would obtain the following characteristics: Stylistic Properties (in each segment) All the Control Structures containing this segment Position of each Control Structure Number and type Link elements Colors of Link formatting Number of Graphics elements Size of Images (if available) Total Word Count Font styles. a layer <layer> or a body <body>. sizes and colors • • • • • • • • • • • • Our Observations Default Body Structure found No other Control Structure found Position of Body Structure is trivial No links were found No links were found No graphical elements found No graphical elements found Total word count is 5 100% of the text are bold 40% of the text are in italics 100% of the text are of the same size 100% of the text are of the same color Figure 9: Stylistic Observations on Figure 8 ________________________________________________________________________ 17 . For example. a table cell <td>. the block of text will be “Tom Mitchell’s Machine Learning Website”.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ However. Thus. So our algorithm will link up all these text under the umbrella of a Control Structure.1. the parser will parse its stylistic properties (as mentioned in Section 3.

we came up with 15 PARCELS labels. 5. date. When we did the actual annotation for our Machine Learning training data.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ This is a simple demonstration on what the parser will obtain together with the block of text. these are the 17 labels: PARCELS Labels Title of article Purpose of Labels Refers to the headline of the article or phrase that summarizes the article Date / Time of article Reporter name Source station Country where news occurred Image supporting contents of article Links supporting contents of article Main content of article Refers to the date and time the article was published Refers to the author of the article Refers to the source / provider broadcast station of the news article Refers to the country. namely sub header and supporting contents. After looking through articles from 12 News sites. we would focus on the News Domain in this release. report name and etc. Presently. These data will be stored in a Vector for Machine Learning purposes in the next chapter. there are segments which are useful but do not fall into any of the classes. These labels are common components found. 2 more labels were added.2 PARCELS Tags for News Domain As mentioned earlier. drawing or sketch) related to the contents of the article Refers to a hyperlink placed within the main content of the article Refers to the main text of the news article ________________________________________________________________________ 18 . These labels are easily extended. we would need to identify the labeling of segments that are of interest to us in the News Domain. city or state where the event took place Refers to an image (a photograph. Thus. Thus. like title.

________________________________________________________________________ 19 . text ads and banner ads Refers to the text / links related to searching or search options Figure 10: PARCELS labels and purposes More information on the textual engine of PARCELS can be found in (Lai. and the date / time of these articles Newsletter Refers to text / links prompting the user to sign up for or subscribe to a newsletter Site image Refers to images which are part of the web page's design and not related to the news article Site content Refers to the text which is part of the web page's content and not related to the news article Site links / navigation Refers to links to other parts of the website. With this information. 2004). captions of audio / video files. any text of sidebars containing additional information about the article Sub header Refers to the sub headers which are found within the main content of the article Links to related article Refers to links to other news articles which have similar content or articles previously reported on the same topic. such as captions of images. including navigation bars but not related to the news article Advertisements Search Refers to advertisements on the website. After formulating the PARCELS toolkits.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Supporting content of article Refers to the other text not belonging to the main text of the news article but is still related to the article. we are now able to the retrieve useful information from web pages. we shall proceed with our Machine Learning.

6. For comparison purposes. 2004). SVM measure the complexity of hypotheses based on the margin with which they separate the data and not the number of features. This means we can generalize even in the presence of many features (Joachims. We can input a bias (cost factor) via a parameter. 6. ________________________________________________________________________ 20 . 1998). For stylistic detection. this same margin argument suggests a heuristic for selecting good parameter settings for the learner. This is to cut down on the number of redundant features. 1998).1. the size of the feature vector will grow increasingly with additional domains. Boostexter would also be included as an added feature in the stylistic engine. Labels that are more likely to be classified by the stylistic engine are colored in light grey while labels that are less likely to be classified are in white. Machine Learning and Co-Training For the stylistic engine.1 Support Vector Machine SVM is selected due to some of its core features like its ability to learn is independent of the dimensionality of the feature vector (Joachims.1 PARCELS Labels vs. Stylistic Features Before we proceed with the feature vector. Furthermore. This allows fully automatic parameter tuning without expensive cross-validation. Boostexter would be used (Lai. we must first tabulate the stylistic features which are likely to affect certain PARCELS labels. Thus.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 6. For the textual engine. we would be using Support Vector Machine (SVM) for our Machine Learning purposes.

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ PARCELS Label Title of article Stylistic Feature • • • • Date / Time of article • • • • Reporter name • • • • Source station • • Country where news occurred • • Image supporting contents of article • • • Links supporting contents of article • • • Main content of article • • • • Likely detected by stylistic engine Larger font size May be in Bold font Relatively Top Position Not likely detected by stylistic engine Likely grouped with Reporter name Smaller font size May be in Italics font Not likely detected by stylistic engine Likely grouped with Date / Time Smaller font size May be in Italics font Not likely detected by stylistic engine Likely grouped within blocks of text Not likely detected by stylistic engine Likely grouped within blocks of text Likely detected by stylistic engine Image tags grouped with high Word Count Position within Main Content Likely detected by stylistic engine Links tag grouped with high Word Count Position within Main Content Likely detected by stylistic engine High Word Count Few or no Bold / Italics tags Position across News sites is similar ________________________________________________________________________ 21 .

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Supporting content of article • • • • Sub header • • • Links to related article • • • • Newsletter • • • Site image • • • • Site content • • • Site links / navigation • • • • • • Likely detected by stylistic engine High Word Count Few or no Bold / Italics tags Likely to be using different font color Likely detected by stylistic engine Low Word Count High percentage in Bold Likely detected by stylistic engine High percentage of links tags High percentage of text within <a> tags Position across News sites is similar Not likely detected by stylistic engine Low Word Count May be in smaller font size Likely detected by stylistic engine High percentage of links tags Low Word Count Position across News sites is similar Not likely detected by stylistic engine Low Word Count May be in smaller font size Likely detected by stylistic engine High percentage of links tags High percentage of text within <a> tags May have a high percentage of images Smaller font size Position across News sites is similar ________________________________________________________________________ 22 .

With the observed stylistic features. This refers to which of the 9 regions on screen are they in.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Advertisements (Graphical) • • • • • Search • • • Likely detected by stylistic engine Low percentage of link tags Low percentage of image tags Low or no Word Count May be in fixed sizes Not likely detected by stylistic engine Low Word Count May be in smaller font size Figure 11: PARCELS labels’ Stylistic Features Therefore. These features capture the number of <br> tags and word count. Detection of weight factor of the segment.2 Formulation of Feature Vector Having identified the prominent stylistic features. we came up with the feature vector for each segment of text.1. from Figure 11. etc.3. Number of features 11 3 8 4 ________________________________________________________________________ 23 . we can see that the stylistic engine will likely detect 10 out of the 17 labels with high confidence. 2004). We will verify this in Chapter 7 (Analysis of Results). the percentage of italics text. Thus. The textual engine will handle the rest of the labels with high confidence (Lai. Characteristics Detection Detection of tables and the flow of cells as mentioned in Chapter 4. Detection of position of div. we now formulate our feature vector. we set the limit to 4 nested tables. Good for detecting labels like Main Content. We observed the number of nested tables does not go beyond 3 levels on the Web. span and layer as mentioned in Chapter 4. like the percentage of bold text. 6. Detection of stylistic properties of the segment.4.

3 Co-Training In Machine Learning. they will be left out.1. The PARCELS labels and formulation of feature vector for Boostexter will be similar to Section 6. This file will then be trained or classified. Good for advertisements and site links detection. For the full listing on the contents of the feature vector. one based on styles and one based on text.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Detection of links ratio in that particular segment of the web page. 1998). Detection of images and their sizes. unlabelled examples are significantly easier to come by than label ones. ________________________________________________________________________ 24 . it is logical to apply co-training to achieve a better result. 6. we have included a module to convert our SVM feature vector to Boostexter. Total Features 31 2 3 Figure 12: Breakdown of features in Feature Vector One feature vector will be outputted for every text block segment and stored in a single file. which are almost mutual exclusive to each other. 6.1 Stylistic and Textual Engine Since we have 2 engines.3. In the event when one of the features does not apply. For comparison. The idea of co-training is to use this large unlabelled sample to boost the performance of our learning algorithm since a small set of labeled examples is available to us due to manpower issues (Blum and Mitchell. 2004). please refer to Appendix B.2 Boostexter Boostexter is used mainly in the textual engine (Lai. Useful in detecting labels like Related Links and Navigation Links. 6.

The overlapping examples will be selected first. there are two sets of training data for the both SVM and Boostexter. After learning is performed on these training data. Top k examples with the highest positive confidence will be collected after classification.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Add top k positive data SVM Training Data SVM Trainer SVM Classifier Classify New Data Remove top k positive data Unlabelled Data Co-training Module Classify New Data BT Training Data BT Trainer BT Classifier Add top k positive data Figure 13: Co-Training Flowchart Firstly. the SVM classifier will classify the unlabeled examples. For example. The same applies for the Boostexter classifier. SVM Classifier (Top k) Segment 5 6 10 11 1 Classification Main Content Related Links Main Content Main Content Main Content Boostexter Classifier (Top k) Segment 6 5 11 42 56 Classification Main Content Main Content Main Content Main Content Main Content Figure 14: Example of Co-Training Classification ________________________________________________________________________ 25 . PARCELS will then compare the top k examples between the two classifiers.

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ From Figure 14. Thus. Segment 5 and 11 will be selected. ________________________________________________________________________ 26 . The whole process will repeat for the number of times specified. Since we are using two separate Machine Learners. Segments with two different classifications will be ignored. These 5 examples will then be removed from the unlabelled examples and added to the training set for both SVM and Boostexter. Segment 10. 42 and 1 will be included. Therefore. Since we are looking for top 5 (k = 5 in this example). Segment 6 will be ignored. we will take the top examples from each classifier until 5 is reached. it is not accurate to compare the level of confidence between two learners.

0 R 71. Thus. our results are on par and even higher in some instances.9 100.9 72. Analysis of Results With the PARCELS engines working. it is not easy to obtain huge amounts of labeled data in a short time.0 60. Main Content is the easiest to classify with its recall constantly over 90% and precision over 70%. In fact.3 75.9 84.0 38. Thus.1 22. However.0 Round 2 P 71. An overall precision and recall of 71.0 R 64. 7.9 100. the result peaked in the second round of co-training.0 60.0 40.1 100.3 80. The same can be said for Navigation Links as they both belong to the Links class.0 80.1 33.9 93. like HTML Struct Tree. Not surprisingly.0 Figure 15: Preliminary Investigation of Results With the available training data.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 7.6 80.2 R 70. ________________________________________________________________________ 27 .1 66. we are more interested in the other labels.3 80.1 96.3 Round 3 P 64. with a training set of 5 news sites.9 93.1 84.0 50.0 R 64.0 57.0 Round 1 P 70.9 72.3 100.0 50.0 57.0 100.1 22.9 93. it would be useful to put it into real use by applying existing web pages in the News domain.5 50.0 100. if we do a comparison on the papers (Chapter 2) that uses their own representation tree.4 50.0 40.1 87.0 33.0 70.1 33.9% is a good result.8 75. Labels Precision / Recall Overall Main Content Related Link Site Content Navigation Links P Initial R 70. as we know main content extraction is already heavily researched.2 Round 4 P 64. The low recall is due to the lack of training data. Related links comes a close second with precision of 100% but with a rather low recall.1 Preliminary Investigation of Results As we know.8 100. we would try to obtain some preliminary results.0 36.

The increasing precision reflects that co-training works well for our classification given sufficient amount of training data. We are certain that the results can be a lot better. Those labels not mentioned in Figure 15 are the ones we do not have positive examples of. We will be providing the detailed investigation of results on our PARCELS website on Sourceforge. Nevertheless. First of all. 7. an annotation engine is already in place to handle this problem (Lai.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ On the other hand. not all the labels are available in the training set. 2004).2 Detailed Investigation of Results More labeled examples from the annotation engine will be available in near future. With more labeled examples. Site Content has an increasing precision and a high recall. we are very confident that the precision and recall will be improved further. ________________________________________________________________________ 28 .

We have done numerous background analyses on how humans perceive web pages in real life before designing such a system. http://parcels. extending it to other domains poses no problem at all. With this Logical Structure. we can apply it to many tasks. ________________________________________________________________________ 29 . • Ability to handle Frame Structure This will ensure we have a complete system that can parse virtually any web pages on the Web today. some of which mentioned in this thesis. This was one of the design considerations of PARCELS – to be able to handle pages from different domains. Conclusion We started this paper with a mission to design something that classifies segments of web pages into useful information. Below are some of the areas which can be improved.1 Future Work Nevertheless. PARCELS is easily extendable.net 8. • Ability to handle Cross Documents Structure This will give PARCELS the ability the view web pages as clusters instead of individual pages. there is always room for further work. With the working system now. PARCELS is currently released under GPL on Sourceforge. PARCELS has done just that. we are pretty confident PARCELS will be able to classify with accuracy and precision. Since the system is designed modularly. This is important since most web pages today are part of major web site.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 8. Inputting a News article into PARCELS will give us a Logical Structure of how the web page is designed.sourceforge. we are able to obtain the relevant segments of the web page. Thus.

• JavaScript support We did not handle JavaScript in this release. It would be good to have as JavaScript does affect the layout of pages in some instances (though rarely). our primary focus is still HTML tags.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ • Improved CSS support Although there is CSS support in this release. ________________________________________________________________________ 30 . CSS is gaining popularity and it is useful to take a look at CSS.

Hawaii. 2002. 1998. Hurst. Carnegie Mellon University. 207 – 214 Hurst. S. In the 12 th WWW Conference. In COLT: Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Learning Theory. A. D. Xi’an. G. W.. D. 1999. and Mitchell. L. pp. In the 5 th Asia Pacific Web Conference. In the Applied Natural Language Processing Conference. In the 2nd International Conference on Multi-model Interfaces. M. M. Wen. Layout & Language: Preliminary experiments in assigning logical structure to table cells.Y. (1998). and Grimm.. 2003. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. and Ma.E.W. 1997. Gupta. S. D. W. S. (1999). (1997). P. Cai. (2002). pp. Combining labeled and unlabeled data with cotraining. (2003). Hurst. T.S.. pp 217 – 220 ________________________________________________________________________ 31 . Yu. Layout and Language: Beyond Simple Text for Information Interaction – Modeling the Table. A flexible learning system for wrapping tables and lists in HTML documents. In the 11 th WWW Conference. Extracting Content Structure for Web Pages Based on Visual Representation. Kaiser. 2003. Budapest. Using HTML formatting to aid in natural language processing on the World Wide Web. Washington. M. pp. DOM-based content extraction of HTML documents. Neistadt.R. 406 – 417 Cohen. Computer Science Department... 1998.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ References Blum. (1998). J. and Jenson. Senior thesis. (2003). and Douglas. 232 – 241 DiPasquo.

In the 12 th WWW Conference. M. 2003. Recommendation. W. Budapest.Y. J. 2004. 11 – 18 ________________________________________________________________________ 32 . Characteristics of Web Site Designs: Reality vs. CHI Letters.. Lai. Yu. Improving pseudo-relevance feedback in web information retrieval using web page segmentation. pp. National University of Singapore. S. (2003). 367-374. pp. (2004). Statistical Profiles of Highly-Rated Web Sites. (2003).R.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Ivory. Honours Thesis. S. 137 – 142. PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Text Deduction). pp. Wen. (2002). Tenth European Conference on Machine Learning. 2003. Ivory. and Ma..A. Text categorization with Support Vector Machines: Learning with many relevant features. In ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.Y. Joachims. and Hearst. D. M. M.Y. Cai. In Machine Learning: ECML-98. (1998). 2002. T. In HCI International Conference. School of Computing.

0% 22.0% 96.9% 12.4% 10.4% 99.2% 49.1% 50.9% 6.2% 29.4% 95.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Appendix A – Distribution of HTML Structural Tags The table below shows the distribution of HTML Control tags for 12 popular News sites on the Web today.4% 8.4% 0% 0% 0.3% 88.1% 0% 0% 6.2% 98.0% 5.1% 12.4% 18.3% 97.1% 48.7% 1.4% <span> 4.1% 95.2% 96.6% 2.4% 6.0% 98.2% <div> 32.8% 1.6% 98.0% <layer> 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% National Geographic (Jan 2004) National Geographic (Jan 2002) Straits Times (Jan 2004) Straits Times (May 2000) CNN (Jan 2004) CNN (Jun 2000) Yahoo News (Jan 2004) Yahoo News (Oct 2000) BBC (Jan 2004) BBC (Feb 2000) ________________________________________________________________________ A1 .2% 19.1% 3.9% 39. Percentage of tags embed with News Sites Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Total Tags 464 447 454 337 608 425 619 411 943 649 1358 934 1012 769 929 506 622 479 589 465 <table> 97.0% 12.7% 96.3% 4.0% 95.3% 98.3% 3.1% 36.1% 97.1% 98.0% 2.7% 96.6% 31.5% 85.1% 96.2% 2.0% 31.6% 9.8% 0% 0% 60.9% 2.7% 87.

2% 88.7% 0.4% 2.0% 17.4% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Slashdot (May 2000) CNet (Jan 2004) CNet (Jan 2002) Wired News (Jan 2004) Wired News (Feb 2000) The Register (Jan 2004) The Register (Feb 2000) Space.9% 95.4% 98.1% 12.0% 13.1% 15.4% 9.1% 95.7% 0% 0% 5.8% 98.3% 97.0% 5.4% 12.4% 98.8% 97.com (Mar 2000) MSNBC (Jan 2004) MSNBC (Feb 2001) Arabic News (Jan 2004) ________________________________________________________________________ A2 .1% 0.3% 96.0% 97.com (Jan 2004) Space.3% 0% 0.0% 3.4% 97.8% 97.2% 95.2% 94.7% 13.5% 98.8% 94.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Slashdot (Jan 2004) Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles Index Articles 1116 2894 914 2459 661 431 744 403 402 217 857 410 786 412 679 247 426 586 616 598 1036 538 315 458 417 213 98.6% 98.7% 81.6% 93.9% 0% 4.4% 97.8% 99.7% 0% 0% 0% 0% 8.1% 1.1% 98.3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 29.6% 98.0% 77.2% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.3% 0% 0% 97.3% 95.9% 98.9% 9.3% 0% 0% 0.8% 15.2% 93.1% 97.2% 98.7% 0% 0% 54.3% 9.3% 31.

3% 86.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Arabic News (Feb 2000) Index Articles 426 133 95.4% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Figure 16: Distribution of HTML Structure Tags ________________________________________________________________________ A3 .

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Appendix B – Listing of Features in Feature Vector 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: 28: 29: 30: 31: Depth of current cell in the nested tables Row number of current cell in outermost table Row number of current cell in the 1st nested table Row number of current cell in the 2nd nested table Row number of current cell in the 3rd nested table Row number of current cell in the 4th nested table Column number of current cell in outermost table Column number of current cell in the 1 nested table Column number of current cell in the 2nd nested table Column number of current cell in the 3rd nested table Column number of current cell in the 4 nested table Position (1 – 9) of div Position (1 – 9) of span Position (1 – 9) of layer Percentage of words in <i> in this segment Percentage of words in <i> in this segment over all words under <i> in article Percentage of words in <b> in this segment Percentage of words in <b> in this segment over all words under <b> in article Percentage of words in <u> in this segment Percentage of words in <u> in this segment over all words under <u> in article Percentage of words in <font> in this segment Percentage of words in <font> in this segment over all words under <font> in article Number of <br> tags in this segment Percentage of <br> in this segment over all <br> in article Number of words in this segment Percentage of words in this segment over all words in article Percentage of words in <a> in this segment Number of <a> tags in this segment Percentage of <a> in this segment over all <a> in article Number of <img> tags in this segment Percentage of <img> in this segment over all <img> in article th st ________________________________________________________________________ B1 .

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