Data scraping is the process by which a certain computer program mines data from human-readable output sourced from another program. Data scraping therefore is a data transfer technique accomplished by computers. One major element of scraping data that differentiates it from other data extractors is that output obtained from data scraping is meant for use by the final user rather than as an input to another program.
Data scraping process is somewhat not that straight forward. Some legalities need to be followed before any data can be scrapped.
Considerations before data scraping
The following are some of the areas one need to consider before data scraping:
1. Copyright: unauthorized copying of any information is prohibited. Some items are copyrightable while others are not copyrightable. Therefore, you must be very careful on the law protecting the works of individuals.
2. Terms of sale (ToS): no data scraper is allowed to post any info violating the terms of sale.
3. Volume: reasonable frequency for scraping data must be regulated because the web owner can still have an interest in the web content.
Challenges facing data scraping
It is very important to note that getting data through data scraping is not very easy, it encounters quite a number of problems including, but not limited to.
- Metadata: only a few datasets are thoroughly explained for a person to understand easily what they mean. It can therefore be very difficult for the web scrapper to know what the web designer meant by some statements.
- Scale: it is rather apparent that the differences in which data is represented in terms of units of measure can be a big challenge during data scraping. The data’s terabytes can be a problem to some file systems.
- The complexity of the source: an exact answer to a specific question is what is required by the web user, so if the source from which the data to be scrapped is complicated and not easy to comprehend, data scraping process may fail since proper and accurate information may not be extracted.
Benefits of data scraping
Data scraping can be beneficial to anyone. Some of the beneficiaries are:
- It will help business people to extract useful information about their sales volume, profit margins, employees’ output and pricing of their products
- It can also help people get information about job opportunities available in different firms.
- It provides journalists with information where they can extract articles and newscast
- It can also provide information about recreational destinations to people who want to go for such.
- It can also help the government with reliable information which can be used for the economic planning of any nation.
With the increasing usage of website services, data scraping has become very critical in information provision. This has helped many people be informed without much struggle. It gives information in the simplest way possible that can be understood by anyone. So, most online companies, including governments, are using data scraping most effectively.