Web Scraping During the Pandemic
So it’s 2021, and nothing has really changed yet. Disinfectant spray, masks, and all that jazz – we are still trying to endure the global pandemic. Since COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, it is crucial to collect relevant data as fast as possible. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes, web scraping. And yes, proxies too, please.
What Is Web Scraping Used for During the Pandemic?
You know the drill, you scrape the web whenever you need to extract large amounts of data from it. And since the COVID-19 outbreak is a rapidly evolving public health emergency, more organizations, such as healthcare, scientific, or non-profit, need to access up-to-date information asap. If these organizations don’t collect it on time, the relevant data will be lost because some will be overwritten, archived, or simply deleted.
Uses of Web Scraping: Social Science Researches
For example, social scientists collect data crucial for providing theoretical and empirical insights into this pandemic’s consequences. Also, some researchers conducted a qualitative content analysis to examine how people’s knowledge, attitudes, and reactions have evolved in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak.
To do that, researchers collected data from the Sina Weibo platform. They were scraping Weibo public posts that contained COVID-19-related keywords and were posted by users located in Wuhan city. These findings will provide ways to inform future outbreak communication and policymaking in China and beyond.
Uses of Web Scraping: Healthcare Researches
Healthcare professionals find web scraping highly beneficial too. Knowing the vast numbers of patients suffering from SARS-CoV2 makes it almost impossible to collect all necessary clinical data from all of them. And yet, information concerning COVID-19 patients’ medical history, disease records, blood chemistry, and so on is crucial for understanding this disease better. So, some researchers used web scraping to develop a technique that helps gather patients’ medical data autonomously during this pandemic.
Where Do Proxies Come In?
So it’s easy to see why web scraping is on the rise nowadays. And to tell you the truth, in some cases, you don’t necessarily need proxies. You can try to ask the webmaster to give you access to use their API services so that you can collect the data you need from their website. Typically, reliable sources that include data on public health issues can be accessed in this way.
But, let’s be honest – it doesn’t really solve the problem. You usually have to scrape at least several websites simultaneously for your web scraping project. It’s just too tedious to ask each webmaster to grant you that access. After all, information on the internet is free to access for anyone!
Also, it’s a global crisis. So, in some cases, you need to cover not only a wide variety of geographical places but also repeatedly scrape certain websites for data. And you don’t really want to be blocked from this precious information. Only proxies can help you here!
Nevertheless, it is vital to point out that you must use only high-quality and ethical residential proxies for these tasks. Free proxies are big no-nos. They tend to get easily blocked and are simply unsafe because their servers don’t use HTTPS, which means that your connection won’t be encrypted.
Honestly, it seems that web scraping during this pandemic became the new black. Just get some high-quality residential proxies from us, and you’re good to go!