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NICAR 2016 Training Material

Web Scraping Without Programming

In this presentation, Tom Johnson of the Institute for Analytic Journalism and I will demonstrate various ways of harvesting data from the Internet without programming. While we heartily recommend that reporters explore the power of programming languages such as Python, Ruby and R, we believe these software tools are a valuable means to getting information that is otherwise unobtainable.

    You can download
  • The primary handout
  • Our powerpoint
  • A detailed tutorial on using to scrape Web sites
  • An example of how to find and parse hidden XML or JSON data
  • A walkthrough of various methods for dealing with PDFs

  • An Introduction to Open Refine

    Open Refine is a vital tool for cleaning dirty data. A typical example is when a dataset contains names of people or companies but with inconsistent spelling that needs to be standardized. At NICAR, Nils Mulvad and I will walk through a tutorial he created. The exercise is here, the practice data here and here.

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    NICAR 2016 Training Material



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