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Factoring Web Tables

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Executive Summary

Automatic interpretation of web tables can enable database-like semantic search over the plethora of information stored in tables on the web. The authors' table interpretation method presented here converts the two-dimensional hierarchy of table headers, which provides a visual means of assimilating complex data, into a set of strings that is more amenable to algorithmic analysis of table structure. They show that Header Paths, a new purely syntactic representation of visual tables, can be readily transformed ("Factored") into several existing representations of structured data, including category trees and relational tables.

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