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Redacting Documents

Apr 6th, 2011

Workspace , ,

Jeremy Ashkenas

As DocumentCloud becomes more deeply embedded into the reporting workflow for many newsrooms, we hear more and more requests for improved document redaction tools. We expect each newsroom to adhere to their own policies about what kind of information is or is not suitable to reveal, but if you’ve used DocumentCloud to analyze records that contain home phone numbers, private details about minor children or personal information that isn’t appropriate for publication, you probably want to redact those documents before you publish them.

Our document modification tools were a start: they made it possible for users to add, remove and replace individual pages, which meant a user could manually redact one page, re-scan it, and insert a modified page in place of the offending original. A painstaking process, to say the least, and one some users found themselves repeating multiple times as subsequent editors (and often, lawyers) requested that ever more information be removed.

We’re thrilled to announce that users can now redact any document right in the workspace. See our documentation for more details. It’s as simple as making annotations. (In fact, annotations can be used to mark passages that should be considered for redaction later on.) Scroll through all the pages in the document and redact them in a single pass.

When you save your redactions, DocumentCloud will re-process any altered pages. Your document should retain no trace of the redacted text.

We’re hoping that this feature will make it even easier to use DocumentCloud end-to-end in your reporting process. As always, let us know how it works. We’re always looking for ways to improve DocumentCloud.

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