Adding custom datasets

The yente API server is typically used to query OpenSanctions data, but it can also be used as a general purpose data matching API for other datasets about companies, people, property and so on.

yente: Intro · Deployment · Settings · Custom datasets · FAQ

The default configuration of yente will index and expose the datasets published by OpenSanctions every time they change. By adding a manifest file, you can change this behaviour in several ways:

  • Index additional datasets that should be checked by the matching API. This might include large public datasets, or in-house data (such as a customer blocklist, local PEPs list, etc.) that you wish to vet alongside the OpenSanctions data.
  • Index only a part of the OpenSanctions data, e.g. only the sanctions collection.

Side note: A dataset in yente is a logical unit that contains a set of entities. However, some datasets instead reference a list of other datasets which should be included in their scope. Datasets that contain other datasets (rather than their own source data) are called collections. For example, the dataset us_ofac_sdn (the US sanctions list) is included in the collections sanctions and default.

Generating FollowTheMoney data

In order for yente to import a custom dataset, it must be formatted as a line-based JSON feed of FollowTheMoney entities. Entities describe semantic units like people, companies or airplanes that underly the way that yente performs data matching.

There are multiple ways to produce FtM data, but the most convenient is to import structured data via a mapping file using the ftm set of command-line tools. This allows reading data from a CSV file or SQL database and converting each row into entities.

There's also a Python API for creating FtM entities programmatically.

Don't forget to ftm aggregate your datasets before indexing them in yente!

Configuring a manifest file

Defining these extra indexing options is handled via a YAML manifest file read by yente. (The file needs to be accessible to the application, which may require the use of a Docker volume or a Kubernetes ConfigMap). The manifest file can also be configured as a HTTP/HTTPS URL which the yente application will download upon startup. An example manifest might look like this:

# Import external dataset specifications from OpenSanctions. This will fetch the dataset
# metadata from the given index and make them available to yente.
  - # nb. replace `latest` with a date stamp (e.g. 20220419) to fetch historical
    # OpenSanctions data for a particular day:
    url: ""
    # Limit the dataset scope of the entities which will be indexed into yente. Useful
    # values include `default`, `sanctions` or `peps`.
    scope: all
    resource_name: entities.ftm.json
  # Additional data catalogs can be specified. This has the advantage that a catalog
  # file will specify the latest update date of each dataset, and thus changes to the
  # datasets in the catalog will automatically trigger a re-index in yente:
  - url: ""
    resource_name: entities.ftm.json
# The next section begins to specify non-OpenSanctions datasets that should be exposed
# in the API:
  # Example A: fetch a public dataset from a URL and include it in the default search
  # scope defined upstream in OpenSanctions:
  - name: offshoreleaks
    title: ICIJ OffshoreLeaks
  # Example B: a local dataset from a path that is visible within the container used
  # to run the service:
  - name: blocklist
    title: Customer Blocklist
    path: /data/customer-blocklist.json
    # Incrementing the version will force a re-indexing of the data. It must be
    # given as a monotonic increasing number.
    version: "20220419001"
  # Example C: a combined collection that allows querying all entities in its member
  # datasets at the same time. This can be used to specify a custom subset of lists
  # that should be considered in a particular screening process:
  - name: full
    title: Full index
      - offshoreleaks
      - blocklist
      # include OpenSanctions collections:
      - sanctions

Learn more