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Journalists and Librarians: A Common Goal

by on July 28, 2016

Looking for more resources to support the journalists in your community? The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) recently launched a new data platform to help journalists and researchers browse through more than two million documents from international sources, such as commerce gazettes, company records, leaks, and court cases. The new investigative platform is called Investigative Dashboard Search (ID Search), and its goal is to help journalists and researchers expose organized crime and corruption globally.[1]

ID Search allows journalists to search by document source (such as the Panama Companies Registry), person, or company. Journalists can also set up email alerts notifying them when new results appear for their searches or for persons on official watchlists. They can set up their own private watchlists as well. According to OCCRP, “most sources” on ID Search are updated every twenty-four hours.[2]

IDSearch is part of OCCRP’s Investigative Dashboard (ID), a platform that brings together data search, visualizations and researcher expertise.

Journalists and Librarians Are a Natural Match

Journalists and librarians have common a goal: the pursuit of the truth through information and research. Libraries can actively support local journalists by highlighting tools such as ID Search and other research databases.

One way might be to curate a page on your website of tools and resources for journalists or create a postcard to send to local media outlets. This blog post from TechSoup for Libraries offers even more ideas for catering to local journalists as well as some of the benefits of inviting media into your library.

You could also team up with a media outlet to offer programming around media creation and journalism. The Dallas Public Library and The Dallas Morning News are supporting the next generation of journalists through an initiative called “Storytellers Without Borders.” A Knight News Challenge grant-winner, the program encourages high school students to engage with community members while learning about opportunities in libraries and journalism.[3] The application process for Storytellers Without Borders opens in August.

Why Libraries Should Support Journalism

Kelly Baxter of the Dallas Public Library wrote about how journalists and library science professionals experience many of the same challenges: Both have to deal with constantly changing information sources and technology. The project not only demonstrates the role libraries play in the “research, creation, and dissemination” of journalism but also “reinforces the public library’s role as a community center; a neutral space where diverse individuals are encouraged to come together to educate one another through the sharing of ideas and experience.”[4]

Public libraries can facilitate factual, research-based journalism, whether that’s training the journalists of tomorrow or sharing tools such as ID Search.


Ginny Mies, “The Library as a Newsroom,” TechSoup for Libraries, February 11, 2014.

[1] Tom King, “OCCRP Launches New Search Engine for Investigative Journalists,” Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, May 30, 2016.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Christine Schmidt, “Dallas Public Library, Dallas Morning News Team up to Develop Teenage Storytellers,” The Scoop Blog, June 23, 2016.
[4] Kelly Baxter, “Storytellers Without Borders: Activating the Next Generation of Community Journalists Through Library Engagement,” Knight News Challenge, April 22, 2016.

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