A pilot project aimed at having public libraries enhance the public’s knowledge and use of the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service begins July 1, 2011.
Two libraries – the Library of Congress in the District of Columbia and the Law Library for San Bernadino, California – will kick off the pilot, but up to 50 additional public libraries may join them in future months.
PACER allows users to obtain case information from federal courts without having to visit the courthouse. The service allows an Internet user to request information about a particular case or party, and makes the data immediately available for printing or downloading at a cost of 8 cents per page.
In the pilot project, libraries will conduct at least one training class for the general public every three months, and offer training or refresher opportunities for library staff at least one a year. Those staff members, in turn, may assist library patrons in the use of PACER. For participating libraries, the first $50 of PACER use fees each quarter will be waived.
The pilot is a joint undertaking of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Government Printing Office, and the American Association of Law Libraries.
The U.S. Library of Congress has recently announced valuable enhancements (including expanded bookmarking and sharing functions plus improved navigation) to its free online legislative information database THOMAS.
Jonathan Zittrain presented the Keynote Address for the AALL 2009 conference on Sunday, July 26th. And, the talk was really energizing.
Zittrain mentioned quite a few examples of the web matching all manner of projects with interested people.
One really noteworthy project along those lines has been developed by the Sunlight Foundation. Transparency Corps is a chance for any one of us to do a little and contribute quite a lot. As the site states:
“Transparency Corps is the Sunlight Foundation’s answer to the question, “How can I help?”. There are many big problems that we can solve with technology, but we can’t solve them all. For many of the projects that make government transparency a reality, human eyes and analysis are required. With Transparency Corps, we break those tasks down into short, small actions that make a BIG difference. Join the Corps, and let’s get started!”
I decided to join, and in very short order I moved from the ‘novice’ level to the impressive ‘hunter’ level. Maybe someday, I can be a ‘Transparency Master’. Any transparency warlords in our midst?