The engine's innovative ranking algorithm, TableRank, also can identify tables found in frequently cited documents and weigh that factor as well in the search results, said Prasenjit Mitra, an assistant professor in the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and one of the lead researchers in the development of the search engine.
"TableSeer makes it easier for scientists and scholars to find and access the important information presented in tables, and as far as we know, is the first search engine for tables," Mitra said.
Tables are an important data resource for researchers. In a search of 10,000 documents from s and conferences, the researchers found that more than 70 percent of papers in chemistry, biology and computer science included tables. Furthermore, most of those documents had multiple tables.
But while some software can identify and extract tables from text, existing software cannot search for tables across documents. That means scientists and scholars must manually browse documents in order to find tables-a time-consuming and cumbersome process.
TableSeer automates that process and captures data not only within the table but also in tables' titles and footnotes. In addition, it enables column-name-based search so that a user can search for a particular column in a table.
In tests with documents from the Royal Society of Chemistry, TableSeer correctly identified and retrieved 93.5 percent of tables created in text-based formats, Mitra said.
Searching for tables has some unique challenges, as there is no standard table representation, so tables can appear in PDF, PowerPoint, HTML and Microsoft Word documents. The researchers chose to focus on PDF documents because of their growing popularity in digital libraries and because PDF documents had been overlooked in other table-search efforts.
"Tables can be made using a number of editor tools, and the techniques we are using in TableSeer should work with any text-based tool," said C. Lee Giles, professor of information sciences and technology and co-director of the IST Cyber-Infrastructure Lab where the research originated. "While we designed and developed TableSeer to facilitate searching of tables occurring in articles in the chemistry domain, it can be used in any domain where data is presented in tabular form including other scientific, technical, social and business areas."
The development of TableSeer is part of an open-source cyber-infrastructure project focusing on chemical document search for environmental chemistry and funded by the National Science Foundation. The grant awarded to the Penn State Department of Chemistry aims to enable automatic data analysis.
"Searching and extracting information from data tables is an essential component of data analysis in environmental science, where many research groups publish large amounts of kinetic data describing chemical changes in the environment," said Karl Mueller, professor of chemistry and principal investigator for the NSF grant.
"As we approach multidisciplinary problems within the Penn State Center for Environmental Kinetics Analysis, our students spend many days hunting down and compiling large amount of data from tables. The TableSeer tools will definitely increase the efficiency of this process and allow more time to be spent on creative scientific analysis," he added.
TableSeer can be tested online (see http://chemxseer.ist.psu.edu). The source code will be made available near the completion of the project, the researchers said.
In the meantime, research is ongoing to improve the ranking algorithm by adding additional features. The researchers also are working on a search engine that can identify, extract and rank figures found in documents, as figures are another important device for disseminating data and findings in the natural sciences.
Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss
18.05.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy