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Max Senior Backend Developer with DevOps/Sysadmin background, Luxembourg
$85 /hr
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I am a backend developer with a passion for reliable, efficient and maintainable systems. With over 15 years of experience, I have gravitated to Go as...Read More
Toni -ann Virtual Assistant, Jamaica
$10 /hr
2 Years Exp.
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I have occupied several roles which involved administrative duties. I have been given the responsibility of data collection, verification and managem...Read More
Debasmita MitraWeb Researcher, India
$3 /hr
5 Years Exp.
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I have 5 years of experience
Hello, My name is Ghanshyam. I am a full time freelancer working from home assisting on job listed on my profile. I have great experience in Virtual A...Read More
A Professional General and Scientific transcription specialist. Follow international standard in transcribing Scientific and General audio and video...Read More
I am a practicing lawyer in Supreme Court of India, with a keen interest in legal content writing and policy analysis and impact assessment. Having vi...Read More
Duptal NeelimaResume, India
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● Enrolling and Disenrollment of Members based on CMS Guidelines. ● Research and Analyze the member Requests for disenrollment from the United Health...Read More
Harvinder SedhaGDPR compliance, India
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Hi, I am expert in GDPR, Data Privacy and KYC compliance.
Nutan BhakuniWeb Scraper, India
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I am a freelance web scraper. I write my own scraping code in Python scripting language. Moreover, I also know the following libraries: - Lxml - Beaut...Read More
Sagar RahurkarData privacy lawyer, India
$25 /hr
8 Years Exp.
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Seasoned professional with diverse experience in handling global data privacy and regulatory compliance issues. Some of the key projects I've del...Read More
Kenneth GalidoVirtual Assistant/ Quality Assurance, Philippines
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I am hardworking and dedicated person who wants to use my skills and education, work experience, and potentials to meet client's expectations at...Read More
Accomplished Privacy Professional with CIPP/E and CIPM certification with in depth experience in handling contractual and compliance issues in relatio...Read More
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Articles Related To Data Collection


What is a web scraping?

Web scraping, web harvesting, or web data extraction is data scraping used for extracting data from websites. Web scraping software may access the World Wide Web directly using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or through a web browser. While web scraping can be done manually by a software user, the term typically refers to automated processes implemented using a bot or web crawler. It is a form of copying, in which specific data is gathered and copied from the web, typically into a central local database or spreadsheet, for later retrieval or analysis.

Web scraping a web page involves fetching it and extracting from it. Fetching is the downloading of a page (which a browser does when you view the page). Therefore, web crawling is a main component of web scraping, to fetch pages for later processing. Once fetched, then extraction can take place. The content of a page may be parsed, searched, reformatted, its data copied into a spreadsheet, and so on. Web scrapers typically take something out of a page, to make use of it for another purpose somewhere else. An example would be to find and copy names and phone numbers, or companies and their URLs, to a list (contact scraping).

 

What you can do with data scraping?

Web scraping is used for content scraping, and as a component of applications used for web indexing, web mining and data mining, online price change monitoring and price comparison, product review scraping (to watch the competition), gathering real estate listings, weather data monitoring, website change detection, research, tracking online presence and reputation, web mashup and, web data integration.

Using data scraping you can build sitemaps that will navigate the site and extract the data. Using different type selectors you will navigate the site and extract multiple types of data - text, tables, images, links and more.

 

What role scraper should play for you?

Web scraping is the process of automatically mining data or collecting information from the World Wide Web. It is a field with active developments sharing a common goal with the semantic web vision, an ambitious initiative that still requires breakthroughs in text processing, semantic understanding, artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions. Current web scraping solutions range from the ad-hoc, requiring human effort, to fully automated systems that are able to convert entire web sites into structured information, with limitations.

 

Below are the ways for scraping data:

  • Human Copy Paste : Sometimes even the best web-scraping technology cannot replace a human’s manual examination and copy-and-paste, and sometimes this may be the only workable solution when the websites for scraping explicitly set up barriers to prevent machine automation.
  • Text Pattern Matching : A simple yet powerful approach to extract information from web pages can be based on the UNIX grep command or regular expression-matching facilities of programming languages
  • HTTP programming : Static and dynamic web pages can be retrieved by posting HTTP requests to the remote web server using socket programming.
  • HTML parsing : Many websites have large collections of pages generated dynamically from an underlying structured source like a database. Data of the same category are typically encoded into similar pages by a common script or template. In data mining, a program that detects such templates in a particular information source, extracts its content and translates it into a relational form, is called a wrapper. Wrapper generation algorithms assume that input pages of a wrapper induction system conform to a common template and that they can be easily identified in terms of a URL common scheme.Moreover, some semi-structured data query languages, such as Xquery and the HTQL, can be used to parse HTML pages and to retrieve and transform page content.
  • DOM parsing: By embedding a full-fledged web browser, such as the Internet Explorer or the Mozilla browser control, programs can retrieve the dynamic content generated by client-side scripts. These browser controls also parse web pages into a DOM tree, based on which programs can retrieve parts of the pages.
  • Vertical aggregation : There are several companies that have developed vertical specific harvesting platforms. These platforms create and monitor a multitude of “bots” for specific verticals with no "man in the loop" (no direct human involvement), and no work related to a specific target site. The preparation involves establishing the knowledge base for the entire vertical and then the platform creates the bots automatically. The platform's robustness is measured by the quality of the information it retrieves (usually number of fields) and its scalability (how quick it can scale up to hundreds or thousands of sites). This scalability is mostly used to target the Long Tail of sites that common aggregators find complicated or too labor-intensive to harvest content from.
  • Semantic annotation recognizing : The pages being scraped may embrace metadata or semantic markups and annotations, which can be used to locate specific data snippets. If the annotations are embedded in the pages, as Microformat does, this technique can be viewed as a special case of DOM parsing. In another case, the annotations, organized into a semantic layer,are stored and managed separately from the web pages, so the scrapers can retrieve data schema and instructions from this layer before scraping the pages.
  • Computer vision web-page analysis : There are efforts using machine learning and computer vision that attempt to identify and extract information from web pages by interpreting pages visually as a human being would.

 

Key Features of Web Scraping

In order to remain competitive, businesses must be able to act quickly and assuredly in the markets. Web Scraping plays a big role in the development of various business organizations that use the services. 

The benefits of these services are: 

  1. Low Cost: Web Scraping service saves hundreds of thousands of man-hours and money as the use of scraping service completely avoids manual work.
  2. Less Time: Scraping solution not only helps to lower the cost, it also reduces the time involved in data extraction task. This tool ensures and gathers fast results required by people.
  3. Accurate Results: Web Scraping solutions help to get the most accurate and fast results that cannot be collected by human beings. It generates correct product pricing data, sales leads, duplication of online database, captures real estate data, financial data, job postings, auction information and many more.
  4. Time to Market Advantage: Fast and accurate results help businesses to save time, money and labor and get an obvious time-tomarket advantage over the competitors.
  5. High Quality: A Web Scraping solution provides access to clean, structured and high quality data through scraping APIs so that the fresh data can be integrated into the systems.

Finding and hiring expert scraper/crawler

It’s important to note that not all scraper will be ideal fits for every project. For example, those with highly analytical backgrounds in software engineering would be ideal for developing algorithms but may not be the right fit for a data scraping project. That’s why it’s so important to understand what type of scraping expert will bring the most benefit to your company and business goals.

Here are some questions to consider:

What is the overall learning you hope to find? 

By including your goal in the project description, it allows professionals to better understand what type of work is required.

 

What core skills will scraping experts need to complete the project? 

The answer will revolve around your current data infrastructure and the processes used to extract information.

 

Would you benefit from someone with highly specialized skills in a few areas of data scraping, or would a well-rounded expert serve you better?

 

Are there any time constraints to consider with this project?

Let professionals know the amount of hours of work that might be involved.

 

What kind of budget will this project have? 

The more experience and expertise a data scraper has, the higher they expect to be compensated. Higher budgets will more likely give top-tier experts a reason to submit a proposal.

 

Web scraping project template

Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.

<Job/Project Title>

ABC Company is looking for a web scraping expert to help us study our website traffic patterns and find areas of improvement. This project is estimated to require approximately 20-25 hours per week for the next few months to achieve the following goals

  • Reporting findings in a weekly summary
  • Split testing underperforming pages and recording results
  • Discovering which pages currently perform best
  • Organizing site data into spreadsheets

The following skills are required:

The ideal freelancer will be a creative problem solver with an excellent work history on Toogit. To submit a proposal, please send a short summary of similar projects you’ve completed and why we should consider you for this project.

  • Excellent technical abilities
  • Knowledge of quantitative split testing
  • Experience with WordPress and Google Analytics
  • A thorough understanding of MySQL databases
  • Expertise or extensive experience with Python

 

Hiring the right Web Scraping talent

Remember that technical ability is only a small portion of what makes an excellent web scraper. Great web scrapers are inquisitive—they want to ensure that they’re seeking the right types of answers, plus they’ll take an interest in your business to better understand it. The ideal professional will also be able to advise you on additional metrics to analyze and compare in order to help you meet your goals.

Also, keep in mind that communication is always a key consideration in the data science field. A brief interview can allow you to gauge how strong each professional is in expressing ideas and explaining their process. The more you speak to each professional by phone, email, or chat, the better you’ll be able to gauge their professionalism and communication skills and determine whether they’re right for your project.

NLP is a branch of data science that consists of systematic processes for analyzing, understanding, and deriving information from the text information in a smart and efficient manner. By utilizing NLP and its parts, one can organize the massive chunks of text information, perform various automated tasks and solve a wide range of issues like – automatic summarization, machine translation, named entity recognition, relationship extraction, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, and topic segmentation etc.

 

NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit) is a leading platform for building Python programs to work with human language data. It provides easy-to-use interfaces to lexical resources like WordNet, along with a collection of text processing libraries for classification, tokenization, stemming, and tagging, parsing, and semantic reasoning, wrappers for industrial-strength NLP libraries.

 

NLTK has been called “a wonderful tool for teaching and working in, computational linguistics using Python,” and “an amazing library to play with natural language.”

 

Downloading and installing NLTK

  1. Install NLTK: run pip install nltk
  2. Test installation: run python then type import nltk and run nltk.download() and download all packages.

 

Pre-Processing with NLTK

The main issue with text data is that it's all in text format. However, the Machine learning algorithms need some variety of numerical feature vector so as to perform the task. Thus before we have a tendency to begin with any NLP project we'd like to pre-process it to form it ideal for working. Basic text pre-processing includes:

 

  • Converting the whole text into uppercase or lowercase, in order that the algorithm doesn't treat the same words completely different in several cases.
  • Tokenization: Process of converting the normal text strings into a list of tokens i.e. words that we actually want. The NLTK data package includes a pre-trained Punkt tokenizer for English.

 

           import nltk

           from nltk.tokenize import word_tokenize

           text = "God is Great! I won a lottery."

           print(word_tokenize(text))

           Output: ['God', 'is', 'Great', '!', 'I', 'won', 'a', 'lottery', '.']

 

  • Noise removal: Process of removing everything that isn’t in a standard number or letter.
  • Stop word removal: A stop word is a commonly used word (such as “the”, “a”, “an”, “in”). We would not want these words or taking up valuable processing time. For this, we can remove them easily, by storing a list of words that you consider to be stop words. NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit) in python has a list of stopwords stored in sixteen different languages. You can find them in the nltk_data directory.  home/Saad/nltk_data/corpora/stopwords is the directory address.

           import nltk

           from nltk.corpus import stopwords

           set(stopwords.words('english'))

 

  • Stemming: Stemming is the process of reducing the words to its root form. Example if we were to stem the following words: “Connects”, “Connecting”, “Connected”, “and Connection”, the result would be a single word “Connect”.

           # import these modules

           from nltk.stem import PorterStemmer

           from nltk.tokenize import word_tokenize   

           ps = PorterStemmer()  

           # choose some words to be stemmed

           words = ["Connect", "Connects", “Connected”, "Connecting", "Connection", "Connections"]

 

           for w in words:

           print(w, " : ", ps.stem(w)) 

 

  • Lemmatization: Lemmatization is the process of grouping along the various inflected forms of a word in order that they may be analyzed as a single item. Lemmatization is similar to stemming but it brings context to the words. Therefore it links words with similar meaning to one word.

           # import these modules

           from nltk.stem import WordNetLemmatizer  

           lemmatizer = WordNetLemmatizer()  

           print("rocks :", lemmatizer.lemmatize("rocks"))

           print("corpora :", lemmatizer.lemmatize("corpora"))  

           # a denotes adjective in "pos"

          print("better :", lemmatizer.lemmatize("better", pos ="a"))

 

          -> rocks : rock

          -> corpora : corpus

          -> better : good

 

Now we need to transform text into a meaningful vector array. This vector array is a representation of text that describes the occurrence of words within a document. For example, if our dictionary contains the words {Learning, is, the, not, great}, and we want to vectorize the text “Learning is great”, we would have the following vector: (1, 1, 0, 0, 1). A problem is that extremely frequent words begin to dominate within the document (e.g. larger score), however might not contain as much informational content. Also, it will offer additional weight to longer documents than shorter documents.

 

One approach is to rescale the frequency of words or the scores for frequent words called Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency.

 

  • Term Frequency: is a scoring of the frequency of the word in the current document.

           TF = (Number of times term t appears in a document)/ (Number of terms in the document)

 

  • Inverse Document Frequency: It is a scoring of how rare the word is across documents.

           IDF = 1+log(N/n), where, N is the number of documents and n is the number of documents a term t has appeared in.

 

           Tf-idf weight is a weight often used in information retrieval and text mining.

           Tf-IDF can be implemented in scikit learn as:

 

           from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import TfidfVectorizer

           corpus = [

           ...     'This is the first document.’

           ...     'This document is the second document.’

           ...     'And this is the third one.’

           ...     'Is this the first document?',]

           >>> vectorizer = TfidfVectorizer()

           >>> X = vectorizer.fit_transform(corpus)

           >>> print(vectorizer.get_feature_names())

           ['and', 'document', 'first', 'is', 'one', 'second', 'the', 'third', 'this']

           >>> print(X.shape)

           (4, 9)

 

  • Cosine similarity: TF-IDF is a transformation applied to texts to get two real-valued vectors in vector space. We can then obtain the Cosine similarity of any pair of vectors by taking their dot product and dividing that by the product of their norms. That yields the cosine of the angle between the vectors. Cosine similarity is a measure of similarity between two non-zero vectors.

           Cosine Similarity (d1, d2) =  Dot product(d1, d2) / ||d1|| * ||d2||

 

          import numpy as np

          from sklearn.metrics.pairwise import cosine_similarity

          # vectors

          a = np.array([1,2,3])

          b = np.array([1,1,4])

          # manually compute cosine similarity

          dot = np.dot(a, b)

          norma = np.linalg.norm(a)

          normb = np.linalg.norm(b)

          cos = dot / (norma * normb)

 

After completion of cosine similarity matric we perform algorithmic operation on it for Document similarity calculation, sentiment analysis, topic segmentation etc.

 

I have done my best to make the article simple and interesting for you, hope you found it useful and interesting too.

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence powered piece of software in a device, application, web site or alternative networks that try to complete consumer’s needs and then assist them to perform a selected task. Now a days almost every company has a chatbot deployed to interact with the users.

 

Chatbots are often used in many departments, businesses and every environment. They are artificial narrow intelligence (ANI). Chatbots only do a restricted quantity of task i.e. as per their design. However, these Chatbots make our lives easier and convenient. The trend of Chatbots is growing rapidly between businesses and entrepreneurs, and are willing to bring chatbots to their sites. You might also produce it yourself using Python.

 

How do chatbots work?

There are broadly two variants of chatbotsRule-Based and Self learning.

  1. In a Rule-based approach, a bot answers questions based on some rules on that it is trained on. The rules outlined could be very easy to very complicated. The bots will handle easy queries but fail to manage complicated ones.
  2. The Self learning bots are those that use some Machine Learning-based approaches and are positively a lot of economical than rule-based bots. These bots may be of additional two types: Retrieval based or Generative.
    1. In retrieval-based models, Chatbot uses the message and context of conversation for selecting the best response from a predefined list of bot messages.
    2. Generative bots can generate the answers and not always reply with one of the answers from a set of answers. This makes them more intelligent as they take word by word from the query and generates the answers.

 

Building a chatbot using Python

NLP:

The field of study that focuses on the interactions between human language and computers is called Natural Language Processing. NLP is a way for computers to analyze, understand, and derive meaning from human language in a smart and useful way. However, if you are new to NLP, you can read Natural Language Processing in Python.

 

NLTK:

NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit) is a leading platform for building Python programs to work with human language data. It provides easy-to-use lexical resources such as WordNet, along with a suite of text processing libraries.

 

Importing necessary libraries

import nltk 

import numpy as np 

import random 

import string # to process standard python strings

 

Copy the content in text file named ‘chatbot.txt’, read in the text file and convert the entire file content into a list of sentences and a list of words for further pre-processing.

 

f=open('chatbot.txt','r',errors = 'ignore')

raw=f.read()

raw=raw.lower()# converts to lowercase

nltk.download('punkt') # first-time use only

nltk.download('wordnet') # first-time use only

sent_tokens = nltk.sent_tokenize(raw)# converts to list of sentences 

word_tokens = nltk.word_tokenize(raw)# converts to list of words

 

Pre-processing the raw text

We shall now define a function called LemTokens which will take as input the tokens and return normalized tokens.

 

lemmer = nltk.stem.WordNetLemmatizer()

#WordNet is a semantically-oriented dictionary of English included in NLTK.

def LemTokens(tokens):     

return [lemmer.lemmatize(token) for token in tokens]

remove_punct_dict = dict((ord(punct), None) for punct in string.punctuation) 

def LemNormalize(text):     

return LemTokens(nltk.word_tokenize(text.lower().translate(remove_punct_dict)))

 

Keyword matching

Define a function for greeting by bot i.e. if user’s input is greeting, the bot shall return a greeting response.

GREETING_INPUTS = ("hello", "hi", "greetings", "sup", "what's up","hey",)

GREETING_RESPONSES = ["hi", "hey", "*nods*", "hi there", "hello", "I am glad! You are talking to me"]

def greeting(sentence):

for word in sentence.split():

if word.lower() in GREETING_INPUTS:

return random.choice(GREETING_RESPONSES)

 

Generate responses

To generate a response from our bot for input queries, the concept of document similarity is used. Therefore, we start by importing necessary modules.

From scikit learn library, import the TFidf vector to convert a collection of raw documents to a matrix of TF-IDF features

from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import TfidfVectorizer

Also, import cosine similarity module from scikit learn library

from sklearn.metrics.pairwise import cosine_similarity

This will be used to find the similarity between words entered by the user and therefore the words within the corpus. This can be the simplest possible implementation of a chatbot.

Define a function response that searches the user’s vocalization for one or more known keywords and returns one of several possible responses. If it doesn’t find the input matching any of the keywords, it returns a response: “I’m sorry! I don’t understand you”

 

def response(user_response):

robo_response=''

sent_tokens.append(user_response)

TfidfVec = TfidfVectorizer(tokenizer=LemNormalize, stop_words='english')

tfidf = TfidfVec.fit_transform(sent_tokens)

vals = cosine_similarity(tfidf[-1], tfidf)

idx=vals.argsort()[0][-2]

flat = vals.flatten()

flat.sort()

req_tfidf = flat[-2]

if(req_tfidf==0):

robo_response=robo_response+"I am sorry! I don't understand you"

return robo_response

else:  robo_response = robo_response+sent_tokens[idx]

return robo_response

 

I have tried to explain in simple steps how you can build your own chatbot using NLTK and of course it’s not an intelligent one.

I hope you guys have enjoyed reading.

Happy Learning!!!

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