A Python package & command-line tool to gather text on the Web#
Trafilatura is a Python package and command-line tool designed to gather text on the Web. It includes discovery, extraction and text processing components. Its main applications are web crawling, downloads, scraping, and extraction of main texts, metadata and comments. It aims at staying handy and modular: no database is required, the output can be converted to various commonly used formats.
Going from raw HTML to essential parts can alleviate many problems related to text quality, first by avoiding the noise caused by recurring elements (headers, footers, links/blogroll etc.) and second by including information such as author and date in order to make sense of the data. The extractor tries to strike a balance between limiting noise (precision) and including all valid parts (recall). It also has to be robust and reasonably fast, it runs in production on millions of documents.
This tool can be useful for quantitative research in corpus linguistics, natural language processing, computational social science and beyond: it is relevant to anyone interested in data science, information extraction, text mining, and scraping-intensive use cases like search engine optimization, business analytics or information security.
- Web crawling and text discovery:
Focused crawling and politeness rules
Support for sitemaps (TXT, XML) and feeds (ATOM, JSON, RSS)
URL management (blacklists, filtering and de-duplication)
- Seamless and parallel processing, online and offline:
URLs, HTML files or parsed HTML trees usable as input
Efficient and polite processing of download queues
Conversion of previously downloaded files
- Robust and efficient extraction:
Main text (with LXML, common patterns and generic algorithms: jusText, fork of readability-lxml)
Metadata (title, author, date, site name, categories and tags)
Formatting and structural elements: paragraphs, titles, lists, quotes, code, line breaks, in-line text formatting
Comments (if applicable)
- Output formats:
Text (minimal formatting or Markdown)
CSV (with metadata, tab-separated values)
JSON (with metadata)
XML (with metadata, text formatting and page structure) and TEI-XML
- Optional add-ons:
Language detection on extracted content
Graphical user interface (GUI)
Evaluation and alternatives#
For detailed results see the benchmark and evaluation script. To reproduce the tests just clone the repository, install all necessary packages and run the evaluation script with the data provided in the tests directory.
Most efficient open-source library in ScrapingHub’s article extraction benchmark
Best overall tool according to Gaël Lejeune & Adrien Barbaresi, Bien choisir son outil d’extraction de contenu à partir du Web (2020, PDF, French)
In a nutshell#
Primary installation method is with a Python package manager:
pip install trafilatura. See installation documentation.
>>> import trafilatura >>> downloaded = trafilatura.fetch_url('https://github.blog/2019-03-29-leader-spotlight-erin-spiceland/') >>> trafilatura.extract(downloaded) # outputs main content and comments as plain text ...
On the command-line:
$ trafilatura -u "https://github.blog/2019-03-29-leader-spotlight-erin-spiceland/" # outputs main content and comments as plain text ...
For more information please refer to usage documentation and tutorials.
Trafilatura is distributed under the GNU General Public License v3.0. If you wish to redistribute this library but feel bounded by the license conditions please try interacting at arms length, multi-licensing with compatible licenses, or contacting me.
See also GPL and free software licensing: What’s in it for business?
These documentation pages also provide information on concepts behind data collection as well as practical tips on how to gather web texts (see tutorials).
Contributions are welcome! See CONTRIBUTING.md for more information. Bug reports can be filed on the dedicated page.
Many thanks to the contributors who submitted features and bugfixes!
For planned enhancements and relevant milestones see issues page.
Trafilatura: Italian word for wire drawing.
Corresponding posts on Bits of Language (blog).
- Core functions
- Uses & citations