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.
UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville
New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy