Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Screen Scraper

  • Harald NaumannEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_1167


Data extraction; Screen scraping; Screen wrapper


A screen scraper is a program which extracts relevant data from the visual user interface of an application. Input data are commonly represented using text-only or graphically enhanced tables, lists, and forms, tailored to a human audience. Scraping is the task of collecting data from its presentation, not directly from its source for lack of access. The scraper output has a structured and machine-readable format, where extracted data are usually annotated with its semantics (metadata), suitable for automatic post-processing. The process can be thought of as reverse-engineering a data store from its presentation, abstracting content from layout. Using this approach, application data are taken from the human-oriented screen output rather than the application’s hidden proprietary data structures.

Key Points

Traditionally, screen scrapers have been used to interface legacy systems residing on old mainframes, which often...

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Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Hassan T, Baumgartner R. Intelligent text extraction from PDF documents. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Intelligent Agents, Web Technologies and Internet Commerce; 2005. p. 2–6.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Huynh D, Mazzocchi S, Karger D. Piggy bank: experience the semantic web inside your web browser. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Semantic Web Conference; 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

Section editors and affiliations

  • Georg Gottlob
    • 1
  1. 1.Computing Lab.Oxford Univ.OxfordUK