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A summer day’s worth of DocumentCloud updates

Aug 10th, 2015


Anthony DeBarros

Hello and happy summer! We’ve been busy here at Team DocumentCloud, using the weeks since meeting many of you at IRE 2015 and SRCCON to focus on building a stronger platform and getting in position to ensure the long-term sustainability of DocumentCloud.

There’s lots in motion, and so here’s a quick update on the highlights:

Milestone: 2 million docs

Thank you for keeping us busy! In July, the total number of files uploaded to DocumentCloud passed 2 million, and our platform now holds more than 27 million pages of the documents you’ve gathered. The numbers keep growing as more news organizations join us – more than 1,400 worldwide right now – and as more people use our API for bulk uploads. Keep those documents coming (and we always appreciate a tip at if you’re planning a big drop)!

A mobile-optimized viewer embed

Whenever we chat with our users, the most-requested feature for DocumentCloud is a better experience for viewing our embeds on phones. Well, we’ve heard you and have been busy developing documentcloud-pages, a new responsive embed type that displays a page with minimal chrome but also allows navigation through the entire document. We’re aiming to launch an early version in late August or September; if you’d like to contribute code or issues, please visit the project repository. In fact, we’re excited that the folks at La Nacion are already using the new embed in their Doc2Media project.

Get tips and updates in your mailbox!

We’re here to help, and soon we’ll launch two newsletters filled with info on how to get more out of your DocumentCloud account. News & Tips will highlight new features (and ones you might not know about) plus tips for publishing, collaborating and working with documents. App Developers will offer information for developers working with our API or building news apps based on our open source components. Both newsletters also will highlight great uses of DocumentCloud from around the world. You can sign up now.

An OpenCalais update

Since the launch of DocumentCloud, we’ve used Thomson Reuters’ OpenCalais API for our entity extraction. There’s a new version of the API, and we’re migrating to it this month. There won’t be any immediate difference in how we display entities, but we’re looking at whether the new API may offer us some new features. Stay tuned.

Welcome, Clay Selby, to the team!

There’s a new face at Team DocumentCloud’s daily scrum: Clay Selby of Austin, Texas, joined us in July as a part-time developer (thereby doubling our Texas staff). Clay’s the founder of email marketing startup and brings a good dose of entrepreneurial experience along with his coding chops. Initially, Clay’s been working on moving us to the new OpenCalais API, but he’ll also be focusing on a lot of our back-end processing improvements.

Out and about

We’ve seen many of you in the last few months at various places on the map, from IRE 2015 in Philadelphia – where we held a hands-on class and talked to hundreds who stopped at our table – to SRCCON in Minneapolis. We had the fortune to show off DocumentCloud to students at Medill/IRE’s National Security Journalism Data/Watchdog Workshop in Washington, D.C., and we checked in with a couple of our user newsrooms as well. If we’re in your area and you’d like to get together, let us know!

A sustainable DocumentCloud

Finally, but not least, our current Knight Foundation grant directs us to find ways to make DocumentCloud financially sustainable. Since launch in 2010, thanks to Knight, our service has been offered to journalists for free. In the spirit of improving journalism and making reporting more transparent, we’re intent on maintaining a level of free access to DocumentCloud for journalists while developing a pricing model around features of the platform. In addition, thanks to a new account signup page, we’re hearing from many outside of journalism who’d like to use DocumentCloud, and we’re exploring that option. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be reaching out to many of you to discuss our plans.

Thanks for reading, and as always we have several ways for you to get in touch or follow our progress in several ways:

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