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DocumentCloud aims to release a public beta in March 2010

Last year we reported several times on Knight News Challenge 2009 winner DocumentCloud. It’s a non-profit project, initiated by a small team from ProPublica and the New York Times, to build an open-source platform to make data more easily accessible.

It will point users to documents hosted elsewhere, similar to a card cataloguing system or search engine. Only in rare circumstances will DocumentCloud serve the documents itself. Partnered by Thomson Reuters, its 20+ beta testers include Talking Points Memo,the US National Security Archive, the Gotham Gazette and the UK’s Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Yesterday, the Gotham Gazette’s former technology director and now DocumentCloud program director, Amanda Hickman, said that a beta should be released in March 2010.

“The very most frequent question we get is ‘When can I try it?’ The answer to that one is: we’re committed to releasing a public beta in March,” she said, in an email update to the project’s followers.

Hickman said that the project still welcomes new contributors: “If you’re part of a news organisation that is planning to use DocumentCloud, take a look a the list of document contributors on our site (http://www.documentcloud.org/document-contributors/) and make sure your organisation is listed there. If you aren’t listed, let me know so that we can fix that!”

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