Entity and Schema API

The core interfaces of followthemoney are simple: each running instance of the library has a class:followthemoney.model.Model singleton, which holds a set of class:followthemoney.schema.Schema definitions (e.g. schema:Person). Each schema defines a set of properties (e.g. name, birthDate) which give meaning to how values can be associated with entities of a given schema.

The model is also used to instantiate entity proxies – objects that allow the creation and use of entity data, based on the rules defined by an associated schema.


For an illustration of how these objects interact, imagine the following script:

# Load the standard instance of the model
from followthemoney import model

## Schema metadata
# Access a schema metadata object
schema = model.get('Person')

# Access a property metadata object
prop = schema.get('birthDate')

# You can also import the type registry that lets you access type info easily:
from followthemoney.types import registry
assert prop.type ==

## Working with entities and entity proxies
# Next, let's instantiate a proxy object for a new Person entity:
entity = model.make_entity(schema)

# First, you'll want to assign an ID to the entity. You can do this directly: = 'john-smith'

# Or you can use a hashing function to make a safe ID:
entity.make_id('John Smith', '1979')

# Now, let's assign this entity a birthDate property (see above):
entity.add(prop, '1979-08-23')

# You can also assign properties by name:
entity.add('firstName', 'John')
entity.add('lastName', 'Smith')
entity.add('name', 'John Smith')

# Adding a property value will perform some validation:
entity.add('nationality', 'Atlantis')
assert not entity.has('nationality')
entity.add('nationality', 'Germani', fuzzy=True)
assert 'de' == entity.first('nationality')

# Lets make a second entity, this time for a passport:
passport_entity = model.make_entity('Passport')
passport_entity.make_id(, 'C716818')
passport_entity.add('number', 'C716818')

# Entities can link to other entities like this:
passport_entity.add('holder', entity)
# Which is the same as:

# Finally, you can turn the contents of the entity proxy into a plain dictionary
# that is suitable for JSON serialization or storage in a database:
data = entity.to_dict()
assert data.get('id') ==

# If you want to turn this back into an entity proxy:
entity2 = model.get_proxy(data)
assert entity2 == entity

The library offers a much more complex set of operations - but entity proxies, schemata, properties, and the model are the key elements to understand.


We also provide an auto-generated API reference for the Python library: