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[META] Case management #334

pudo opened this Issue Mar 1, 2018 · 0 comments


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pudo commented Mar 1, 2018

We're planning to add functionality to Aleph 2 which would allow reporters to manage the people, companies, events and documents that constitute an investigation inside of the platform. This will include options for the editing and navigation of a particular case by means of tabular listings, using entity-related dossiers (wiki pages) and network diagrams (like in current VIS). Our goal is to make it easier to build and share a consolidated case file that includes all the atoms of a particular story.


  • Introduce a distinction in collection types, between a Source (e.g. a scraped or leaked dataset) and a Case (which is manually curated and assembled).
  • Introduce a new domain object, Dossier, which describes a conceptual entity - such as a Person or Company - that is made up by linking together many Entities from different collections. Unlike with an Entity, the ultimate goal of a Dossier is to have only once instance of a particular concept (e.g. "Donald J. Trump") in an Aleph instance. A Dossier does not have a collection_id.
  • A SameAs (name?) describes the link between an Entity (either bulk-loaded or not) and a Dossier. It can indicate a) the Entity being a constituent part of the Dossier, b) the Entity being definitely distinct from the Dossier, c) the identity has yet to be decided by a user.
  • A Link (name?) describes the inclusion of a Dossier in a Case. Any Dossier can appear in numerous investigations. The Link will also store notes and tags detailing the research conducted on the thing described by the Dossier as part of the Case.

Plan of Attack

Since this is a large feature, we cannot do it all at once. Here's some possible entry ways we have discussed:

  • Bookmarking entities and documents while searching. This is a much-requested feature, and it can be developed using a combination of Link, Dossier and Case. It will essentially leave the user with a set of their own investigations (Cases) and the documents and entities they have chosen to file into each of them.
  • Porting Oligrapher to run on Aleph. Since we want to support network canvases (and eventually replace VIS), we could leapfrog the development by making it a milestone to build an API capable of running the Oligrapher tool on top of it. For this to work, we need to map the RDF-style entity data model of Aleph into a property graph-style model (similar to Neo4j) for use in the network tool.


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