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Investigating your local jails? Reuters journalists share how to analyze and understand their new national data set


After years of reporting, Reuters has released a first-of-its-kind national database of deaths in local jails, offering a unique resource for news organizations looking to examine inmate mortality in the facilities they cover. Tomorrow at 1pm EasternPeter Eisler and Grant Smith share how they gathered and cleaned the data and how you can use it for your own reporting and analysis.
 
Register Here

Can't make it live? No worries: We'll record and publish the training afterward. Read more details and register here.

Feature Updates: Scheduled publishing, easier collaboration, beta entity extraction
 

Over the past few months, we've been hard at work rolling out new features to DocumentCloud, and wanted to highlight some you might have missed:
  • Scheduled Publishing: You can now schedule when private documents are made public, down to the minute. From the manager view, click "Edit" and then "Change Access," or from the document editing view, click the current access level:   You can then select "Schedule Publication" and choose a date and time to publish.

It even detects your local timezone so there's less math to figure out!
  • Entity Extraction: We've launched a first pass at more powerful entity extraction. From the manager view, select one document, click "Edit", and then "Entities" to extract and view detected names, organizations, and more. We're working on refining this functionality in the coming months and would love your feedback on how you'd like to use entities in your reporting.
  • Project Embeds: Project embeds are back and more reliable than ever. Click the pencil icon next to a project name from the manager view and then click "Share/Embed" project.
  • Easier Collaboration: If you work with freelancers or external collaborators that don't have DocumentCloud accounts, it's now easier to get them onboarded. While verification is still required to upload or publish documents, now anyone can register for a free account to use most of DocumentCloud's other functionality. To collaborate, have them create a free account here, add the documents you want to share to a project, and then click the pencil icon by the project name, and then "Manage Collaborators."

Sunsetting legacy servers: What you need to know

We've migrated the last users from DocumentCloud's legacy systems to our new server and are beginning the process of updating embeds to the new format. For most users, the impact will be minimal with no intervention required:
  • Starting in a week or two, old embeds — including document, project, notes, and page embeds — will swap from the old format to the new automatically. We'll keep the same dimensions and style options, but the viewer will look slightly different.
  • A couple of weeks after that, we'll swap beta.documentcloud.org in for DocumentCloud.org — no more having to remember the new URL. The legacy server will still be available for any troubleshooting and recovery needs. At this point, unauthenticated access to the legacy API will cease working except for the oEmbed endpoint, which will be forwarded to the new endpoint so that CMS integrations that rely on it should continue to work without change.
  • Two to four weeks after that, with physical archives made in case of emergency, we'll decommission the old server.
Our team is working to spot check a number of embeds — if you have a particularly unique embed use case or other special integration, please reach out and we'll add it to our list to monitor for any issues. We're particularly interested in examples that use the legacy oEmbed endpoint to get embed codes so we can check implementations.

API Users: If you have heavily customized the viewer or have DocumentCloud integration that relies on the API, we want to make it a smooth transition if needed. Our API documentation is here and the updated Python library is here.

Need help getting back into your account?


If you have an existing DocumentCloud account but have had a hard time getting in, here's some tips: Still having issues? Just let us know and we're happy to get you back up and running.

What's up next on our road map

We have a long list of planned feature updates and improvements, and with the sunsetting of the legacy system we'll be able to focus purely on improving the core service going forward. Upcoming planned features:
  • Document Editing: We've mostly finished up the ability to add, remove, rotate, and re-arrange pages, and this will be the next major feature released once we've finalized some of the above migration steps. We're really excited with how this has come out and can't wait to get it in your hands.
  • Multilingual Interface: Our next major feature after document editing is bringing back non-English interface options. This is a large feature release and will take some time, but is a major priority. Note that our image-to-text processing already supports 103 languages.
  • Expanded Embed Options and Compatibility: A more incremental feature, but we'll be continuing to add ways to customize embed settings and compatibility. We're releasing small updates to improve embedding every other week or so now, but your feedback is really helpful. Please just email us with any feature requests or if you've run into issues.
We have a lot more planned after that that we can't wait to share.
 
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