Legal Research: PACER Official Comments on Removal of Archives From Five Courts
The lack of advanced notice about the records being taken offline is troubling. Plus, why wasn’t any sort of an explanation as to why they were taken offline provided in the first place?
From a Report by Andrea Peterson, The Washington Post:
Charles Hall, a spokesperson for the Administrative Office [of the U.S. Courts], told The Post via e-mail that the change was made on Aug. 11 in preparation for an overhaul of the the PACER architecture, including the implementation of the next generation of the Judiciary’s Case Management and Electronic Case Files System. “NextGen replaces the older CM/ECF system and provides improvements for users, including a single sign-on for PACER and NextGen,” he wrote.
However, Hall says, the dockets and documents no longer available through the system could still be obtained directly from the relevant court and “all open cases, as well as any new filings, will continue to be available on PACER.”
But that means it is much harder for the public to access historical records — and the lack of forewarning left some legal and technical experts reeling. Brian Carver, an assistant professor at University of California at Berkeley School of Information, says he was frustrated and disappointed by the change. Carver is a co-founder of nonprofit group Free Law Project, which recently partnered with Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy to maintain the RECAP platform — a crowd-sourced project which hosts free archives of documents others have obtained through the paid PACER system.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.