Learn how to use the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database

A new video tutorial explains everything you need to know about how to use ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks Database. Follow these steps to search more than 100,000 secret entities by country, keyword or by accessing the raw data directly.

The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database cracks open the impenetrable world of tax havens by allowing users to search through more than 100,000 secret entities incorporated in 10 offshore jurisdictions. Since its launch last June, the database has received 5.4 million page views. To search users can use any word or filter by country to narrow searches to more than 170 countries and territories. ICIJ has written blog posts and  provided trainings to journalists to help users make efficient searches. Today we are releasing a video tutorial where you can learn in just five minutes everything you need to know about how to use the database.


UPDATE: In January 23, 2014 ICIJ revealed the names of more than 37,000 tax haven clients from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, so the Offshore Leaks Database now has no details withheld. 

A bit of nerdy talk

If you’re one of those people who like to play with the data in its raw format, don’t forget to check out our downloads section, where you’ll be able to get a copy of the database in CSV. In a matter of seconds, you’ll get a zipped folder with the data. You need to unzip it to work with it. Otherwise it won’t work and it will look like the file is corrupted. If you’re on a Mac, just double click on the zip file and it will unzip the folder automatically. If you’re in a PC, please follow these three steps:

1- Select the file and right click. Then select “Extract All…”

2- You’ll then get a window where you can select the location and folder where you want the files to be. Click “Extract.”

3- Go to that location. You will find a folder with four CSV files in it and a Readme file:

·         “nodes.csv” contains the information of the more than 251,000 nodes the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database has.

·        “edges_1direction.csv” describes the relationships between the nodes.

·          “node_countries.csv” has all the countries associated to every node. You can read more about how we associated every node to a country.

·         “countries.csv” is a lookup list of countries and their codes from the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Remember that programs such as Excel don’t always open CSV directly and you will need to import the file as it’s explained here. Read the Readme file to understand the fields in each of the files and don’t forget to get in touch with us if you find something worth investigating.


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