Document Type



Computer Science

First Advisor's Name

Evangelos Christidis

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Peter Clarke

Third Advisor's Name

Raju Rangaswami

Fourth Advisor's Name

Naphtalie Rishe

Fifth Advisor's Name

Debra VanderMeer


Semistructured documents, XML, storage, parsing, information retrieval, semisequental access, lazy parsing, ontologies

Date of Defense



The increasing amount of available semistructured data demands efficient mechanisms to store, process, and search an enormous corpus of data to encourage its global adoption. Current techniques to store semistructured documents either map them to relational databases, or use a combination of flat files and indexes. These two approaches result in a mismatch between the tree-structure of semistructured data and the access characteristics of the underlying storage devices. Furthermore, the inefficiency of XML parsing methods has slowed down the large-scale adoption of XML into actual system implementations. The recent development of lazy parsing techniques is a major step towards improving this situation, but lazy parsers still have significant drawbacks that undermine the massive adoption of XML. Once the processing (storage and parsing) issues for semistructured data have been addressed, another key challenge to leverage semistructured data is to perform effective information discovery on such data. Previous works have addressed this problem in a generic (i.e. domain independent) way, but this process can be improved if knowledge about the specific domain is taken into consideration. This dissertation had two general goals: The first goal was to devise novel techniques to efficiently store and process semistructured documents. This goal had two specific aims: We proposed a method for storing semistructured documents that maps the physical characteristics of the documents to the geometrical layout of hard drives. We developed a Double-Lazy Parser for semistructured documents which introduces lazy behavior in both the pre-parsing and progressive parsing phases of the standard Document Object Model's parsing mechanism. The second goal was to construct a user-friendly and efficient engine for performing Information Discovery over domain-specific semistructured documents. This goal also had two aims: We presented a framework that exploits the domain-specific knowledge to improve the quality of the information discovery process by incorporating domain ontologies. We also proposed meaningful evaluation metrics to compare the results of search systems over semistructured documents.





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