Exploring traversal strategy for web forum crawling
In this paper, we study the problem of Web forum crawling. Web forum has now become an important data source of many Web applications; while forum crawling is still a challenging task due to complex in-site link structures and login controls of most forum sites. Without carefully selecting the traversal path, a generic crawler usually downloads many duplicate and invalid pages from forums, and thus wastes both the precious bandwidth and the limited storage space. To crawl forum data more effectively and efficiently, in this paper, we propose an automatic approach to exploring an appropriate traversal strategy to direct the crawling of a given target forum. In detail, the traversal strategy consists of the identification of the skeleton links and the detection of the page-flipping links. The skeleton links instruct the crawler to only crawl valuable pages and meanwhile avoid duplicate and uninformative ones; and the page-flipping links tell the crawler how to completely download a long discussion thread which is usually shown in multiple pages in Web forums. The extensive experimental results on several forums show encouraging performance of our approach. Following the discovered traversal strategy, our forum crawler can archive more informative pages in comparison with previous related work and a commercial generic crawler.