Scrapes sites. Gets news. Eventually events.
Python
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README.md

scraper

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Scrapes sites. Gets news. Eventually events.

More information can be found in the documentation.

Installation

You should probably create a virtual environment, but in any event doing pip install -r requirements.txt should do the trick. You might (probably will) have to specify something along the lines of --allow-all-external pattern --allow-unverified pattern for the pattern library since it gets downloaded from its homepage.

The scraper requires a running MongoDB instance to dump the scraped stories into. Make sure you have MongoDB installed and type mongod at the terminal to begin the instance if your install method didn't set up the MongoDB process to run automatically. MongoDB doesn't require you to prepare the collection or database ahead of time, so when you run the program it should automatically create a database called event_scrape with a collection called stories. Once you've run python scraper.py, you can verify that the stories are in the Mongo database by opening a new terminal window and typing mongo.

To interface with Mongo, enter mongo at the command line. From inside Mongo, type show dbs to verify that there's a database called event_scrape. Enter the database with use event_scrape and type show collections to make sure there's a stories collection. db.stories.find() will show you the first 20 entries.

Running

After everything is installed, it's as simple as python scraper.py. That is assuming, of course, that you wish to use the configuration seen in the default_config.ini file. If not, just modify that. For the source type section of the config, the three types of sources are wire, international, and local. It is possible to specify any combination of those source types, with the source types separated by commas in the config file. For more information on the source types, see the Contributing section below.

Contributing

More RSS feeds are always useful. If there's something specific you want to see, just add it in and open a pull request with the source's raw XML RSS feed, a unique source ID, a label indicating whether the source is "international" or "local," and what language the site uses. We currently support English and Arabic in the scraper.

We face a tradeoff between seeking the broadest geographic coverage we can get (meaning including every local paper we can find) and accuracy and relevance (which would lead us to include only large, well-known, and high quality news outlets). We're trying to balance the two objectives by including a third column indicating whether the source is one is a wire service, a dependable news source with solid international coverage, or a local source that may contribute extra noise to the data and may require specialized actor dictionaries. The distinction between the latter two is hazy and requires a judgement call. Eventually, these labels can be used to build event datasets that are either optimized for accuracy and stability (at the cost of sparseness), or micro-level, geographically dispersed (but noisy) coverage.