Data scraping allows a computer program to extract information from human-readable output, most often created by another computer program. Data scraping can be used on websites, software applications, and other areas.

Terms related to Scraping: Data transfer, human-readable output, information access, parsing, screen scraping, web scraping, report mining.

Software applications and other systems often integrate with and communicate with each other through common data transfer techniques and file formats. These methods allow for speed and efficiency in transferring data and reduce ambiguity or confusion.

Data scraping is different to traditional intersystem communications as it takes data that is typically intended for humans to interact with, not other computer programs. Data scraping allows a program to “read” or otherwise access the data and then perform certain tasks and functions upon it. A necessary part of data scraping is filtering out extraneous elements, which, while useful for humans, are of no use to computer programs — for example images, widgets, headers, and other display elements.

Data scraping is often carried out to access data from, or provide data to a legacy system that does not have a programmatic way of receiving the information. It can also be used to share information with another system that does not have a convenient API for transmitting, receiving, or processing data.

Data scraping is considered a less-than-ideal way to share data as there are many points of failure that can impact the quality of shared information.