QueryBased Sampling: Can we do Better than Random?

by Almer Tigelaar and Djoerd Hiemstra

Many servers on the web offer content that is only accessible via a search interface. These are part of the deep web. Using conventional crawling to index the content of these remote servers is impossible without some form of cooperation. Query-based sampling provides an alternative to crawling requiring no cooperation beyond a basic search interface. In this approach, conventionally, random queries are sent to a server to obtain a sample of documents of the underlying collection. The sample represents the entire server content. This representation is called a resource description. In this research we explore if better resource descriptions can be obtained by using alternative query construction strategies. The results indicate that randomly choosing queries from the vocabulary of sampled documents is indeed a good strategy. However, we show that, when sampling a large collection, using the least frequent terms in the sample yields a better resource description than using randomly chosen terms.

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