What is BIRD Source? - BIRD Community

What is BIRD Source?

It is a comprehensive database of documents that the BIRN team has scraped, obtained through FOI laws and collected from sources for its groundbreaking investigations.

In a bid to promote transparency, hold authorities and public figures accountable and help journalists in their investigations, BIRN is giving registered BIRD Community users free access to those documents.

We use the Aleph engine, a powerful open source tool “for people who follow the money,” developed and coordinated by the data team at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Official, online databases that have company, land, court or other documents are often not easily searchable. As a result, BIRN instituted a programme to scrape some of these databases and has repackaged the information on BIRD Source in a user-friendly format, for easy search and download.

Registered users can also contribute to it by uploading their own documents and leaks.

BIRD Source may be useful to the general public as well; a number of documents are available for non-registered users. 

The idea is a result of BIRN’s experience over 14 years in connecting journalists across the Balkans and beyond to produce complex regional analyses and cross-border or country-based investigations.

It is also a result of BIRN’s experience in providing comprehensive and much-needed training in investigative reporting – and is part of our bid to promote accountability, transparency and open governance.

How do I join?

After you register on BIRD Community, you will receive an email invting you to create your profile to access BIRD Source. After you create your profile, you will be able to search all BIRD Source databases, upload your own datasets and sketch a diagram to summarize your investigative findings. BIRN is not collecting users’ data, so your information is protected each step of the way.

However, BIRN keeps the right to manage (deny/approve) datasets that you upload for other people to use.

What can I do on BIRD Source?

You can use BIRD Source to safely store, crosscheck, search and download data. When you type in a name of a person, company or an institution of interest, you will get a full list of documents where that name appears: procurement data, assets, court records, etc.

You will also be able to see a full list of BIRD Source datasets and go through them.