Research topics

Topics in need of more research.

Domain model ideas

  • Each imported document is either tabular or textual. It has many records, i.e. data rows or document pages.
  • An entity (such as a person, organisation, or topic) is like a permanent search query; each entity can have multiple actual search terms associated with it (selectors).
  • Documents matching an entity after that entity has been created yield notifications if a user is subscribed.

Decentralized pipeline ideas

The idea is to pick various subsets of functionality out of a larger continuum of possible tasks related to document and data processing and try to modularise or separate to components and stages of the processing pipelines. This way these could become re-usable while deployed in the differing contexts of the various tools.


Entity merging

De-dupe TODO:

  1. merge identifiers
  2. merge properties
  3. merge names, make merged names into a.k.a’s
  4. merge collections
  5. update references
  6. update alerts
  7. delete source entities
  8. update source entities
  9. update target entity

Open design questions

Entity graph model

The idea is about making a formal instead of a (i.e.) corporate graph. Let’s make a messy one that has all the attributes we can derive from our internal data structure. Then let’s use it as a recommendation engine, rather than an academic research object :)


Making sure that users can only see the parts of the graph to which they have explicit access is the hardest part of this. Every node in the graph needs to be associated with one or many collections, and every user querying the database has access to several hundred collections. The following are options for modelling this:

  • Make each Collection a node and connect it to all its subjects using PART_OF relationships. Query these links at the same time as the actual data.
  • Add labels to each node to express the Collections that it belongs to. This fails because it is impossible to do an OR search on node labels in Neo4J.

Neo4J Lead Generation Patterns:

MATCH (c:Collection)<-[:PART_OF]-(src)
MATCH pth = (src)-[*1..3]-(dest)
MATCH (nc:Collection)
    all(n IN nodes(pth) WHERE (n)<-[:PART_OF]-(nc))
    AND IN [250]
RETURN src, pth, dest
MATCH (c:Collection)<-[:PART_OF]-(src)
MATCH pth = (src)-[*1..3]-(dest)
MATCH (nc:Collection)

    all(n IN nodes(pth) WHERE (n)<-[:PART_OF]-(nc))
MATCH (c:Collection)<-[:PART_OF]-(src)
MATCH pth = (src)-[*1..3]-(dest)
MATCH (nc:Collection)
    c.alephCollection = 250
    AND nc.alephCollection IN [250, 39]
    AND all(n IN nodes(pth) WHERE (n)<-[:PART_OF]-(nc))

Model ideas

  • Actor (actorName, actorFingerprint, actorLegalEntity, actorCompany, actorPerson)
    • PART_OF Collection
    • LOCATED_AT Address
    • REACHABLE_AT PhoneNumber
    • AUTHORED Document
    • BORN_AT Date
    • DIED_AT Date
    • FOUNDED_AT Date
  • Country (countryName, countryCode)
  • Collection (collectionId, collectionName)
  • Document (documentTitle, documentId, documentType)
    • MENTIONS Actor
    • MENTIONS PhoneNumber
    • MENTIONS EMail
    • PART_OF Collection
    • MENTIONS Date
  • PhoneNumber (phoneNumber)
    • LOCATED_IN Country
  • Address (addressText)
    • LOCATED_IN Country
  • EMail (emailAddress)
    • LOCATED_IN Country
  • Date (yearMonthDay)

Indexing notes

Neo4J queries can go from instantaneous to horrible based on the existance of an index, much quicker than Postgres. Here’s the current indexing strategy:

MERGE (n) SET n:Aleph;
MERGE (n:Collection) REMOVE n:Aleph;

DROP INDEX ON :Entity(id);
DROP INDEX ON :Phone(id);
DROP INDEX ON :Email(id);
DROP INDEX ON :Document(id);
DROP INDEX ON :Address(id);

DROP INDEX ON :Entity(fingerprint);
DROP INDEX ON :Phone(fingerprint);
DROP INDEX ON :Email(fingerprint);
DROP INDEX ON :Document(fingerprint);
DROP INDEX ON :Address(fingerprint);

CREATE INDEX ON :Aleph(fingerprint);

Loading external graph data

The purpose of this function is to add structured graph data - such as company registries, contract or concessions info, or financial transactions to the graph database backing aleph. It will then make this graph data available as recommendations and through the scene editor.

Medium-term, the intention is to make the mappings used by this component into user-editable parts of the aleph interface, such that any tabular data uploaded can be woven into the graph.

Mapping file:

## Database configuration URL:
# Can also be defined as DATABASE_URI in the environment.
database: postgresql://localhost/database

## Destination collection configuration:
collection: my_collection_foreign_id
Use case: African mining concessions
  • Which company holds the most concessions across all datasets?
  • Longest chains of ownership -
  • Can we track them back to Exhibit 21 structures, who is the BO?
  • Can we make links to offshore datasets (PP, OL, BS, PA)?
Use case: Moldavian linkages
  • Small networks that have a large extent of control of Moldavian economy.
  • Small networks connected to political actors (e.g. Parliament).
  • Clusters within the larger economy
  • Public contracts that connect to PEPs
  • Public contracts that connect to the procurement blacklist
Use case: PEPs and companies – across all registers.
  • Run all PEPs from EP & Aleph against all offshore registers and point out the ultimate children in an ownership chain.
Use case: EU transparency data
  • Show all advisory group member companies and persons that also were awarded EU-wide contracts.