If you were at NICAR 2012 in February you may remember a man in a PANDA suit wandering the conference halls, flanked by a small group of news developers. At that time the PANDA Project was still a young project. We demoed our first beta release and helped folks install it using our very first pages of documentation. PANDA has come a long way since then. Last Wednesday we released our first stable version, 1.0!

If you have not followed the PANDA Project, allow me to fill you in. To quote from our documentation:

“PANDA is a ‘data library’, which means that it stores all the data you work with–voter registration records, police reports, water testing results, etc. When you upload your data to PANDA it is stored safely away so that it can be easily found again, either by yourself or by another reporter in your organization.

PANDA is also a search engine. By uploading your datasets to PANDA you make them searchable by everyone in your organization. This search feature is designed to work like Google, so you don’t need to learn a new way of exploring the data.”

That description is really just the tip of the iceberg. We also have data exports, per-column search, related file uploads, search subscriptions and an extensive API.

To coincide with the release of version 1.0 we have also launched pandaproject.net, a collection of documentation aimed at reporters and other PANDA users. Those pages are full of examples of how PANDA works and why it is awesome. We hope it gets you excited about having a PANDA in your newsroom.

PANDA has come a long way since February, and we are very excited to have reached a stable release. At this point we think every newsroom can benefit from having a PANDA. Please take a moment to read more about it, ask us questions and set one up today!

Already convinced? Get your own PANDA by following along with our installation documentation.