Tools for Mining - Web Data Mining Tools

What is Web Data Mining?

Web data mining, also known as screen scraping, web scraping and data extraction is using software and tools to extract data from sources that are not formatted to be used as automated data sources. Most web information comes from web pages, often in the form of html that is formatted for a human being to read, rather than a computer. This presents obstacles for the automated system, such as embedded images, multimedia, or formatting elements that are not a part of the desired text (which is to be analyzed).

Where Did Web Data Mining Come From?

Web data mining has grown out of the large volumes of data freely available on the web. Prior to data mining becoming a stand-alone task, business analysts and statisticians extracted and analyzed datasets. However, the large volume and technical nature of data necessitated the creation of data mining tools designed specifically for web data mining.

How Will Web Data Mining Benefit My Business?

If you would like to know more about your customers and when and how they make purchases, web data mining could help. What differentiates business site visitors who read articles and move on to the next site, from site visitors who purchase your goods and services? You can search the traffic data on your company web site, or compiled in your database to find out when a person makes a purchase. Where did they come from and what pages of your site were of interest to them? These are some of the things you can mine from your data.

Web data mining can also be used to extract data from elsewhere in your industry, such as price lists and user data.

Once web information is collected it can be used to improve your marketing results. Your company can make educated decisions about what kind of contacts to make with a customer, when, and in what format. Rules can be created about what type of data to gather, how it is organized, and how it is assessed. You can decide if it is most likely that a customer will make a purchase after he is contacted by email, or snail mail, or phone based on the information that you have mined.

Where Can I Find These Tools for Mining?

Web data mining tools are plentiful. And most vendors offer a demo, freeware or both to help you determine which tool for mining are the best for your business.

For a list of web data mining tools vendors, try DMOZ. Kdnuggets also has a list, that is categorized commercial or free .

Two very well known industry vendors are SAS and Cognos. And never one to miss out on a hot market, Microsoft has an analyticaproduct as well. Take advantage of free trials for data mining tools by trying out more than one before you decide.