Eagle-eyed followers of the DocumentCloud Twitter feed have already picked up on the fact that we began adding users to our beta last month.

We made a strategic decision to peg our beta to NICAR’s March 2010 computer assisted reporting conference, where we knew we’d be able to gather a sizable group of just the sort of investigative reporters we hope to support with DocumentCloud, and get them excited about using our tools to do more with their documents. Nothing beats hands-on support when you’re using a new tool. Plus, we identified dozens of quick fixes we could make after watching over journalists’ shoulders as they explored DocumentCloud.

Close to 300 documents

In the month since NICAR, we’ve added more than 150 users who’ve uploaded a cumulative 54,000 pages of text, and made close to 300 documents available in DocumentCloud. Our repository is already home to police reports from New Orleans, a confirmation hearing transcript that adds context to coverage of Justice Stevens’ resignation, and disaster preparedness plans from Haiti. There’s even a collection of emails that document how some hedge funds not only saw the mortgage crash coming, but wagered on the collapse and won big. (The hedge fund that these reporters investigated argues it never had the hands-on role ascribed to them; that’s in DocumentCloud, too.) Eventually, anyone will be able to connect with those documents right through our website.

Want to be part of the beta? Get in touch and tell us a bit about the documents you’re working with.

We’re still adding beta testers and actively listening to the users we’ve got as we prioritize and refine our to do lists, but we think we’re off to a great start.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]