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Mozenda Glossary of Terms

Web Scraping


See also Web Data Extraction, Screen Scraping Software, Web Mining Software, Data Scraping
  Web Scraping is the process whereby a computer program is used to intelligently identify and extract textual content from web pages.  

See how Mozenda makes Web Scraping easy!


   

Purpose


The purpose of web scraping is to simulate the human browsing experience by replicating computer commands to browse, search, navigate, and ultimately extract specific data fields from a web page. The benefit and value of web scraping lies in the automation of the data collections and the transformation of the data itself from an unstructured format to a structured format such as CSV, TSV, or XML where it can be uploaded, stored and analyzed.

Uses


Many companies use web data collection to copy data sets from websites, usually in long lists, or on items that change regularly. This translates into a steady stream of updating data; with Mozenda, as much as every 15 minutes! Applications of this method include:
  • Collect product and pricing information on similar goods sold by competitors.
  • Gather news, articles, blog posts, etc, and compile into a single RSS feed.
  • Monitor account data on a scheduled basis and perform routine actions automatically.
  • Monitor changing items on the web and have updates emailed to you.
  • Compile and regularly update contact lists.
Mozenda takes this a step further. Not only can you collect this information, it can be organized and formatted into whatever setup fits your process best, and saved as a CSV, TSV, or XML file on your desktop.

Techniques


There are several alternative techniques to web scraping which are human labor intensive or require advanced computer or programming skills. These methods are primarily ad hoc techniques used to find and isolate data elements within the HTML of a web page. Although these techniques can be useful and are still performed by many companies, they are time consuming to develop and difficult to maintain. Some of these techniques include:
  • Human Copy & Paste
  • Text Grepping
  • HTTP Programming
  • HTML Parsing
  • DOM Parsing
  • Computer Vision web page analyzing
 

Mozenda Training Videos


 
Title Length
Play Button Capture Text 0:43
Play Button Input Text Into a Form 0:44
Play Button Click the “Next” Button to Load the Next Page of Results 1:58
Play Button Schedule an Agent to Run Regularly 1:08
Play Button Combine the Contents of Two Fields 1:16
 

More information on how to do a web scrape


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