What is data scraping?
Data scraping is a technique in which a computer program/software extracts data from a website so it can be used for other purposes.
Scraping may sound a little intimidating, but with the help of scraping tools, the process can be a lot more approachable. The tools are used to capture data you need from specific web pages quicker and easier.
Let your computer do all the work
It takes only a few minutes for systems to recognize each other even with huge databases. Computers have their own language and that is why some of these tools make it easier to pull and format information in a way that is easier for people to reuse.
Here is a list of some data scraping tools:
What makes this tool so likable is its business-friendly approach. Tools like Diffbot are perfect for searching through your competitors work and the performance of your own webpage. Get product data from images, articles, discussions, web crawling tools and process websites. You’ll have good information to present to your peers or promote before your board to show results and answer questions.
Import.io can help you easily get the information from any source on the web. This tool can grab data from any site in less than 30 seconds, depending on how complicated the data is and whether its well structured. It can also be used for multiple URLs at once.
Here is one example: Which city in California hires the most through LinkedIn? Check this list of jobs available in LinkedIn, download a csv file, sort from A to Z and voila – San Francisco it is.
Kimono gives you easy access to web APIs. No need to write any code or install any software to extract data. Simply paste the URL into the Kimono or use a bookmark. Select how often you want the data to be collected and Kimono saves it for you. Use the API to output data in JSON or CSV files that you can easily paste into a spreadsheet or Infogram to visualize it. “Built with Kimono” is a gallery that gathers many examples created after scraping data with their tool. Find some inspiration in them… and the login to Infogram to create your own visualzations!
ScraperWiki gives you two choices – extract data from PDFs or build your own scraping tool in PHP, Ruby and Python. It is meant for more experienced users and offers consulting (a paid service) if you need to learn some coding to get what you need. The first two PDF files are analyzed and reorganized for free, afterwards it’s a paid solution.
If programming is the language you love the most, then use Python to build your own scraping tool and get the data. It is particularly useful if the other tools don’t recognize the data you need.
If you haven’t used this Python before, follow this playlist of videos to learn how to use Python for web scraping.
Not enough? Other data scraping tools/websites
If you want more tools, look into the Common Crawl organization. It is made for those who are interested in the data crawling world. Need a more specific tool? DMOZ and KDnuggets have lists of other tools for web data mining.
There are so many tools out there to help you scrape data from the Web. Find the right one and then use Infogram to visualize it.