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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i

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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...........................................................................................................................................................................................9 9 Regions on Screen.....................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 ..................................................................................................................................................................................... A3 ________________________________________________________________________ iv .........................15 Resultant DOM Tree Representation ...........................25 Preliminary Investigation of Results ........................................ News Articles .................................................................6 Patterns for Visual Separator Detection .............25 Example of Co-Training Classification.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................27 Distribution of HTML Structure Tags...................23 Breakdown of features in Feature Vector.....12 National Geographic News Site ........24 Co-Training Flowchart......................19 PARCELS labels’ Stylistic Features ...........16 Stylistic Observations on Figure 8 .................................15 Partial DOM Tree Representation.................5 Cues for segmentation of web pages .......................................................................17 PARCELS labels and purposes ...............6 Observations: Related Work vs......

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

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

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

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

we noted from related works that most papers modified the representation of the DOM Tree: • In (DiPasquo.6% and recall of 64. For companies’ locations. Next. We reaffirm the belief that the stylistic properties are useful in classifying segments of web pages. 1998). Thus. the results are better than those not using the HTML Struct Tree. The HTML Struct Tree is intended to represent how a human would parse word relationships on a web page due to its layout. In this section. The focus of the thesis was to extract the names of companies from the web pages and the locations where they have operations in. the thesis argues that there is information in the layout of a web page. As web pages are meant to be ________________________________________________________________________ 3 . As PARCELS is divided into textual and stylistic engines. they modified the DOM Tree and called it the HTML Struct Tree.0% and recall of 27. we will look at some of the more prominent research on text processing and information retrieval on the Web.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 2. Firstly.1%. and that by looking at the HTML formatting in addition to the text on a page. the thesis reported a precision of 71.4%. For companies’ names. one can improve performance in tasks such as learning to classify segments of documents. As we can see. Related Works Our research is closely related to several areas which have been heavily worked on. we must reaffirm our basis that there is information in the layout and stylistic properties of web pages: • In (DiPasquo. 1998). the thesis reported a precision of 66. layout improves the classification.

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

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

The detailed set can be found in Chapter 5 (Formulation of PARCELS toolkits). Thus. most of the related works focus on how humans interpret the web pages based on the layout and stylistic properties. As we can see. 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. 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. we shall proceed with our analysis on the layout and stylistic properties of real web pages. Difference in the background colors between 2 blocks of text means they belongs to 2 different blocks.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 . We further extended the set of heuristics to suit our purposes. Text Cue If one block contains HTML tags and the other does.

In Year 2000. Articles are also updated daily and read by millions of people. The News sites were analyzed for their structural and stylistic properties. we decided to carry out an analysis on News web pages. • Structural tag <table> is most widely used In Year 2004. 3. <div>. we would be able to parse pages of other domains with relative ease. 3.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 3. We will be contrasting these 2 analyses to pin point the trend of layout structural tags usage. <span> and <layer> tags used. Furthermore.1 Structural Properties A study was made to find out the dominant layout structure of these sites. Background Analysis Based on the argument that there is information inherent in the layout of each page. it makes sense to use this domain as a starting point for our analysis. 1998). and that parsing the HTML formatting appropriately can improve traditional text processing (DiPasquo.1. Figure 16 in Appendix A gives the breakdown of the statistics of <table>. ________________________________________________________________________ 7 . all the News sites are using tables for their main layout. <table> tags are widely used and will continue to be so (due to compatibility reasons with existing systems). A related study was also made to News articles in Year 2000.1 Analysis of News sites To facilitate our analysis. Thus. With the ability to parse news articles. a total of 12 popular news sites were selected. articles in the News domain are feature rich with complex layout structures. News articles are usually reader friendly but not machine friendly. As we observed. we found out that 10 out of the 12 News sites are using tables as their dominant layout structure.

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

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

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

4 Position of Cells The position of cells is important for information extraction. it is important to find the relation between nested tables and how each cell affects another cell. ________________________________________________________________________ 11 .3. Table-based extraction is done by tagging each cell with a visual position tag (Cohen et al. Furthermore.3 Ordering of Tables by Depth Nested tables are very common in web designing today.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. we observed it is possible to classify some of the segments using such characteristics. From the News site we analyzed. The value is calculated using the type of data located in the cell and the word density of that particular cell. grouping the cells by value will enable us to understand the contents better. From this. we will be able to know the position of this cell with respect to any nested tables. we can gather the following information. 1999). First and foremost. This will ensure a better classification of that particular segment. the number of nested tables for each cell is different.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. If we follow that flow of layout. Thus. 2002). 4. 4.3. Based on this. Cells of the same value are often closely related to each other. 4. it would be significantly easier to classify the segments correctly. With the visual position tag.3. we would need to order each cell by their depth.

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

The rest of the regions will be sub divided according to this maximum position.6 Other Structures We recognize that there are other structures on the Web today. PARCELS focuses on single documents in this release. the higher it will appear on top of other layers. In terms of classifications. layer B has a z-index of 10 and layer A and B overlap each other.5 Layers Structure Due to advancement in HTML and CSS specifications. Layers will be handled in the same way as Division and Span. Thus. 4. position of each layer is important as mentioned in Section 4. 4.1 Priority of Layers Priority of a particular layer depends on the value of z-index. However. the functionalities of Layers can be emulated in Division and Span (z-index in CSS). Thus. The higher the value of zindex. The remaining blocks of text will be placed into each of these regions according to their X-Y coordinates.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ We will locate the maximum position on the X and Y axis. z-index will also be useful as segments like main contents will likely be on top of other segments like background images. 4. ________________________________________________________________________ 13 . That block of text will be in region 9. For example. if layer A has a zindex of 0.4.1. Furthermore. then layer B will appear on top of layer A. they will be included in future releases. like Frames and Cross Documents structure.5.

Figure 7 shows the partial DOM Tree that is created. We would focus on the stylistic engine in this chapter. After parsing it through Tidy. 5. A DOM Tree is an n-ary tree in which each node corresponds to an HTML tag on the page.1.1 DOM Tree To manipulate with the styles of web pages. This relationship is what we defined as the “Logical Structure”.1 DOM Tree Parser A DOM Tree parser stimulates how humans parse words on a web page due to its layout. if we are able to parse it properly.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 5. Thus. Figure 6 shows a web page as viewed in Internet Explorer 6. Due to the complexity of web pages. • 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. a program called Tidy is used to correct such errors. we would now formulate our basic toolkits for PARCELS. Before we create the DOM Tree. Each parent-child relationship loosely means they are directly related. ________________________________________________________________________ 14 . we will be able to capture the right relationship between segments correctly. • The parent-child relationship in the tree implies that the child is in the scope of the parents. we need their DOM Trees. Formulation of the PARCELS toolkits After our analysis on web pages and HTML structures. 5. we need to ensure the HTML coding is sound. This DOM Tree is created using the default Node class in Java. a DOM Tree is created. there will likely be errors. Since a web page is designed to be read by humans.

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 .

rather than how it is represented in a DOM Tree. “Machine Learning” and “Website”. ________________________________________________________________________ 16 . • Splitting of Text from DOM Tree The parser will split the web page into blocks of text (basic unit). For example.1.2 Parser This section will focus on the 2 major functions of the DOM Tree parser. 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”. 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.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. 5.

the block of text will be “Tom Mitchell’s Machine Learning Website”.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ However. a span <span>. a division <div>.1. Thus.2). a table cell <td>. So our algorithm will link up all these text under the umbrella of a Control Structure. A Control Structure can be a paragraph <p>. given the block of text and DOM Tree in Figure 8. 2004). 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 . 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. the parser will parse its stylistic properties (as mentioned in Section 3. • Parsing of Styles from DOM Tree For each block of text. For example. This block of text will then be used in the Text Detection Engine of PARCELS (Lai. a layer <layer> or a body <body>. that’s not how human interpret it.

These data will be stored in a Vector for Machine Learning purposes in the next chapter. 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. city or state where the event took place Refers to an image (a photograph. These labels are common components found. namely sub header and supporting contents. 5. there are segments which are useful but do not fall into any of the classes. we would focus on the News Domain in this release. Thus. After looking through articles from 12 News sites. Presently. report name and etc. 2 more labels were added. date. These labels are easily extended. like title.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. we came up with 15 PARCELS labels. When we did the actual annotation for our Machine Learning training data. 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 .2 PARCELS Tags for News Domain As mentioned earlier. we would need to identify the labeling of segments that are of interest to us in the News Domain. Thus.

2004). ________________________________________________________________________ 19 . 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. After formulating the PARCELS toolkits. we shall proceed with our Machine Learning. such as captions of images. With this information.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. 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. including navigation bars but not related to the news article Advertisements Search Refers to advertisements on the website. captions of audio / video files.

Machine Learning and Co-Training For the stylistic engine. Furthermore. 1998). the size of the feature vector will grow increasingly with additional domains. For comparison purposes.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. SVM measure the complexity of hypotheses based on the margin with which they separate the data and not the number of features. 6. Boostexter would be used (Lai. This means we can generalize even in the presence of many features (Joachims. This allows fully automatic parameter tuning without expensive cross-validation.1 PARCELS Labels vs. 6. ________________________________________________________________________ 20 . Stylistic Features Before we proceed with the feature vector. we must first tabulate the stylistic features which are likely to affect certain PARCELS labels. We can input a bias (cost factor) via a parameter. 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). 2004). we would be using Support Vector Machine (SVM) for our Machine Learning purposes. 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.1. For the textual engine. Thus. Boostexter would also be included as an added feature in the stylistic engine.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 6.

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 .

we now formulate our feature vector. we can see that the stylistic engine will likely detect 10 out of the 17 labels with high confidence. Good for detecting labels like Main Content. we came up with the feature vector for each segment of text. Thus. With the observed stylistic features. like the percentage of bold text. The textual engine will handle the rest of the labels with high confidence (Lai. We observed the number of nested tables does not go beyond 3 levels on the Web. from Figure 11.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. we set the limit to 4 nested tables.1. These features capture the number of <br> tags and word count. Detection of weight factor of the segment. Detection of stylistic properties of the segment. Detection of position of div. span and layer as mentioned in Chapter 4. 2004). 6. This refers to which of the 9 regions on screen are they in. We will verify this in Chapter 7 (Analysis of Results).4. the percentage of italics text.3. Number of features 11 3 8 4 ________________________________________________________________________ 23 . Characteristics Detection Detection of tables and the flow of cells as mentioned in Chapter 4.2 Formulation of Feature Vector Having identified the prominent stylistic features. etc.

The PARCELS labels and formulation of feature vector for Boostexter will be similar to Section 6. This file will then be trained or classified. we have included a module to convert our SVM feature vector to Boostexter. 2004). 6. 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. ________________________________________________________________________ 24 .1 Stylistic and Textual Engine Since we have 2 engines. they will be left out. 6.1. 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.3.3 Co-Training In Machine Learning. it is logical to apply co-training to achieve a better result. 1998).PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Detection of links ratio in that particular segment of the web page.2 Boostexter Boostexter is used mainly in the textual engine (Lai. Useful in detecting labels like Related Links and Navigation Links. 6. which are almost mutual exclusive to each other. For the full listing on the contents of the feature vector. In the event when one of the features does not apply. please refer to Appendix B. one based on styles and one based on text. Good for advertisements and site links detection. unlabelled examples are significantly easier to come by than label ones. Detection of images and their sizes. For comparison.

there are two sets of training data for the both SVM and Boostexter. After learning is performed on these training data.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. For example. the SVM classifier will classify the unlabeled examples. 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. The overlapping examples will be selected first. Top k examples with the highest positive confidence will be collected after classification. The same applies for the Boostexter classifier.

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

2 R 70.9 100.0 R 64.0 57.1 33.5 50.2 Round 4 P 64.1 33.0 Round 2 P 71. 7. Related links comes a close second with precision of 100% but with a rather low recall.1 84.0 57.9 100.0 60.0 40.1 96.9 72. our results are on par and even higher in some instances.3 Round 3 P 64.9% is a good result.PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ 7. Labels Precision / Recall Overall Main Content Related Link Site Content Navigation Links P Initial R 70. if we do a comparison on the papers (Chapter 2) that uses their own representation tree.4 50.3 80.0 50.0 70.9 93.0 36.0 38.8 75.1 87. Not surprisingly.0 R 64.6 80. the result peaked in the second round of co-training. In fact. it would be useful to put it into real use by applying existing web pages in the News domain.1 66. Main Content is the easiest to classify with its recall constantly over 90% and precision over 70%. An overall precision and recall of 71.0 Figure 15: Preliminary Investigation of Results With the available training data.0 33. The same can be said for Navigation Links as they both belong to the Links class.0 40.0 50. we would try to obtain some preliminary results.9 93. we are more interested in the other labels.3 100.8 100.3 80.1 22.0 100. Thus. it is not easy to obtain huge amounts of labeled data in a short time.9 93. as we know main content extraction is already heavily researched.0 80.1 100. Thus.0 R 71.9 72. However.9 84.1 Preliminary Investigation of Results As we know. with a training set of 5 news sites. like HTML Struct Tree. The low recall is due to the lack of training data.0 60. Analysis of Results With the PARCELS engines working.1 22.0 100.3 75.0 Round 1 P 70. ________________________________________________________________________ 27 .

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

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

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

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

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

4% 18.3% 97.2% 49. 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> 97.2% <div> 32.0% 12.1% 12.4% 8.0% 31.8% 1.1% 97.0% 2.5% 85.9% 6.1% 3.4% <span> 4.2% 19.1% 95.4% 6.0% 5.9% 39.4% 99.3% 98.0% 22.0% 98.3% 3.7% 1.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.1% 48.6% 9.0% 95.7% 87.2% 2.4% 0% 0% 0.1% 98.7% 96.6% 2.1% 96.9% 12.1% 36.1% 0% 0% 6.4% 95.4% 10.6% 31.9% 2.2% 96.1% 50.0% <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 .6% 98.2% 98.8% 0% 0% 60.2% 29.7% 96.0% 96.3% 4.3% 88.

4% 97.4% 9.3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 29.0% 13.4% 98.2% 88.3% 97.0% 3.0% 5.com (Jan 2004) Space.2% 95.2% 93.0% 97.3% 95.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 98.2% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.1% 0.3% 0% 0% 97.9% 98.0% 77.3% 0% 0% 0.1% 12.9% 9.5% 98.8% 94.1% 97.3% 96.6% 98.6% 98.8% 98.7% 0.8% 99.1% 98.7% 0% 0% 5.1% 1.3% 31.8% 15.7% 0% 0% 54.4% 12.1% 15.8% 97.9% 95.1% 95.com (Mar 2000) MSNBC (Jan 2004) MSNBC (Feb 2001) Arabic News (Jan 2004) ________________________________________________________________________ A2 .8% 97.3% 0% 0.4% 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.2% 98.7% 81.3% 9.4% 2.7% 13.4% 98.7% 0% 0% 0% 0% 8.0% 17.9% 0% 4.6% 93.2% 94.4% 97.

PARCELS: PARser for Content Extraction and Logical Structure (Stylistic Detection) ________________________________________________________________________ Arabic News (Feb 2000) Index Articles 426 133 95.3% 86.4% 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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