ICIJ’s Datashare platform to keep growing with new focus on collaboration
ICIJ’s innovative open-source research platform gained a host of new features in 2020 — and will continue to evolve throughout the year ahead.
Despite a challenging year of disruptions and uncertainty, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Datashare team continued to break new ground on the innovative research tool in 2020, and have big plans for updates and improvements in 2021.
Datashare downloads rose by 69%, with 7,654 downloads in 2020, compared to 4,538 in 2019, and all those new users were treated to a host of upgrades added to the tool throughout the year.
Here is a tour of the most important new features, and our plans for 2021.
2020: more customization, more searches, more users
- Customize your Datashare – Anyone with coding skills can now develop plug-ins and extensions for Datashare. Please find technical documentation here.
- Batch searches – You can now search thousands of queries at once. Users can upload a list of all the queries they want to search (like all the names of politicians or sport players of their countries) and get the results for each query at once on a user-friendly interface.
- Datashare Lite – As we want Datashare to be used by any reporter in the world, we made the default version of Datashare lighter. Datashare can now be run on less powerful machines and older operating systems.
- Insights – A dashboard now displays key statistics about your indexed data on Datashare: the number of documents per creation date, the number of duplicates and the size of the paths were the first widgets developed — but there are more to come.
- Demo website – As we like to share our work (and give users a chance to test Datashare before installing it on their own machine), we developed a Datashare demo website, where users can search the Luxembourg Leaks dataset and try out some of Datashare’s many features. Find it here.
- Internationalization – In addition to English, Spanish and French, Datashare is now available in Japanese, thanks to ICIJ Japanese member Yasuomi Sawa and open-source collaborative translation tool Crowdin.
2021: more plugins, more collaboration
- Server mode – We are currently making the use of Datashare on a server by several individuals easier and better documented, so that other teams and organizations can collaborate on shared datasets. In this version, users can recommend documents to others and share tags.
- DatashareNetwork – We will develop a new, secure peer-to-peer document search system. In parallel to Datashare’s Server Mode, where users can collaborate on a common dataset stored on a secure server, DatashareNetwork will allow users within a trusted network to search in one another’s own documents.
In 2021, we will also continue to add new plugins or extensions that will be useful to users, and read your contributions on our Github.
Datashare is free, open-source and made available by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. For regular updates regarding Datashare, follow the hashtag #ICIJDatashare on Twitter, and subscribe to ICIJ’s newsletter.