Date Added: Aug 2012
A hidden database refers to a dataset that an organization makes accessible on the web by allowing users to issue queries through a search interface. In other words, data acquisition from such a source is not by following static hyper-links. Instead, data are obtained by querying the interface, and reading the result page dynamically generated. This, with other facts such as the interface may answer a query only partially, has prevented hidden databases from being crawled effectively by existing search engines. This paper remedies the problem by giving algorithms to extract all the tuples from a hidden database. The authors algorithms are provably efficient, namely, they accomplish the task by performing only a small number of queries, even in the worst case.