Web scraping for arts, humanities and social sciences workshop

Web scraping is a versatile tool for taking data from websites and putting them into a spreadsheet for analysis. The potential is there to get a large amount of useful data, which can then be analysed. For example I’m thinking of scraping the IMDB database to look for zombie films, when they were released, the box office takings etc. to see if there are any interesting patterns over time. I did something similar to this manually in the past, with web scraping it can be automated and I can tinker with the parameters easier (e.g. what counts as a zombie film?)


As part of my SSI fellowship I’m delighted to be inviting Chris Hanretty up to Durham to deliver a workshop on webscraping, something he uses in his politics research.

The workshop is on July 1st, and all 25 places were filled within hours of the workshop’s announcement, which is a great indication of the pent up interest in this tool. I even got a couple of emails from people who couldn’t make it, but were really supportive of the idea. I’d be really interested to hear about the different potential applications across the arts, humanities and social sciences. So much stuff is online now, the potential for web scraping is enormous!


About digitalscholar

I am a sociologist with an interest in new technology. Previously I’ve worked on a number of projects at Lancaster University and the Open University looking at the use of new technologies and social media by researchers. I was also a social sciences teaching fellow at the foundation centre at Durham University teaching sociology and anthropology. I am now a senior lecturer at the University of West London's Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning where I oversee the foundation provision and support retention. I'm sure I'll still be interested in, and occasionally blog about, tech related things. I use this blog to post thoughts about using new technologies in my professional academic life and wider thoughts and links relating to technology more generally.
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