I’m using copy/paste to save public records to a spreadsheet. I want to automate this!

The Idea: A tenant’s-rights lawyer was daily running a search for Tenant/Landlord cases and was copy/pasting the case information into a spreadsheet which was subsequently used to mail merge advertisement letters to the defendants. My client needed a more efficient way to collect this information.

Leveraging the power of the artoo.js JavaScript library, I was able to completely automate the data collection process, saving the client the trouble of clicking and collecting info from the more than 200 cases filed each day.

The deliverable was a single bookmarklet which is added to the client’s browser.  Clicking the tool on the search form auto-fills the fields with both static search criteria, as well as calculated dates for “yesterday” (since Monday’s yesterday is Friday, this was less-than-trivial) and submits the form.  The next page is the search results; on this page, clicking the tool loads the scraping library into the page and a second click launches the data collection.

When the script finishes running, the collected data is downloaded as a CSV through the browser’s native functionality. The mail merge process then continues as before, except that my client has saved an hour or more in the collection process!