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Key links:
Primary website:
documentcloud.org
Primary Twitter:
@documentcloud

DocumentCloud is a project that uses collaborative methods to host and organize primary-source documents.

DocumentCloud was initially an independent, nonprofit organization that was founded through a partnership between The New York Times and ProPublica. The two groups received a two-year grant of $719,500 through the 2009 Knight News Challenge to start up the project. The site launched in beta in March 2010 and has three full-time staff members.

In June 2011, when the Knight News Challenge funding ran out, the project became part of the nonprofit group Investigative Reporters and Editors. It received another grant from the Knight Foundation for $1.4 million in 2014.

The project is a software system, website, and set of open standards intended as a tool for investigative reporting, and only news organizations, bloggers and watchdog groups can upload documents there. Its 200-plus contributors include many news organizations as well as other groups such as the ACLU, National Security Archive and Sunlight Foundation. DocumentCloud’s software, however, is open-source, and anyone can view the documents.

One of DocumentCloud’s primary missions is to make source documents searchable. The project uses Tesseract‘s optical character recognition software to read documents and OpenCalais to pull data from them, including key people, places, and dates.

DocumentCloud’s technology has been used on the websites of such news organizations as PBS, ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune to allow readers to search annotated copies of source documents.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
June 19, 2014 / Caroline O'Donovan
Why The New York Times and The Washington Post (and Mozilla) are building an audience engagement platform together — Both excitement and skepticism surrounded Thursday’s announcement that Knight has invested $3.89 million to help The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Mozilla collaborate on an open-source community engageme...
Aug. 12, 2013 / Caroline O'Donovan
Exegesis: How early adapters, innovative publishers, legacy media companies and more are pushing toward the annotated web — Last week, Quartz became the latest in a succession of media companies to begin experimenting with a new type of commenting system. As a number of media companies reconsider how to deal with comments, everyone’s ta...
Dec. 13, 2012 / Richard Tofel and Scott Klein
ProPublica: Why we use Creative Commons licenses on our stories — As the pro-sharing license celebrates its 10th birthday, the nonprofit outlet says encouraging republication has meant more than 4 million extra pageviews on its stories so far this year....
Sept. 6, 2012 / Justin Ellis
What we know now: Reevaluating the 2009 Knight News Challenge — Some projects, like DocumentCloud and Ushahidi, were widely adopted in the media. Others stumbled due to technical problems or resistance from partners....
April 3, 2012 / Justin Ellis
DocumentCloud removes email dump after legal threat — The site was asked to take down emails that were part of an investigation into a News Corp. subsidiary in Australia....

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: July 3, 2014.
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