Extracting big data from the internet use either manual or automated web scraping. Web scraping is also known by other terms, such as data mining, web harvesting, data extraction, and screen scraping.
Whatever the terminology used, the meaning remains the same, and that is the extraction of a large amount of information or unstructured data from the internet that is then transformed into structured data and filed in a data storage.
Web scraping services are the automated mechanisms that replace manual extraction, making the data analysis easy.
To understand web scraping, imagine yourself using a browser to search for information. You view a list of information from the browser, click on a webpage and extract your information. Web scraping simulates this viewer’s browsing.
The web scraping converts the unstructured data extracted into a structured data. The conversion process is tedious. Technology, however, created web scraping tools to make extraction readable. Most of these tools provide an API (Application Programming Interface) which allows sharing of two or more applications. API not only give access to data extracted but is programmable to modify the final scraping results.
Web scraping makes use of programming language which relies on the properties and structures the websites use, which may either be HTTP or HTML.
Rather than go into the intricacies of programming language, a web scraping services does the service for you.