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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.
Twitter is a social network and microblogging platform. The service is built on 140-character messages called tweets, which live on the web and can be read by anyone, although some users opt to make their accounts private. Twitter also allows users to “follow,” or subscribe to, other users’ tweets and — through replies to and…