Public Information at Courthouse Terminals?

One small step for the county. One very small step: According to this Times-Standard article Humboldt County is providing one (soon to be three) terminals that allow access to public documents. But it’s a strange service.  This is laudable in that is does provide a search function so you don’t have to plow through piles of paper copy. But I don’t get it. Three terminals in the courthouse? And, according to the article: “There is a 15-minute time limit for viewing, available from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m.” Uh, why can’t they put this same data on the web where it would be accessible from anywhere 24 hours/day? It’s like the County just went from 1950 to 1990. Why not go all the way to 2009?

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7 comments for “Public Information at Courthouse Terminals?

  1. 1/15/2009 at 10:17 pm

    You’re absolutely right. I wonder the cost difference between installing terminals and putting the info on the web. It’s unclear from the article but it doesn’t look like whole cases will be uploaded, just minutes, calendars and other basic info.

  2. Steven
    1/16/2009 at 7:45 am

    A step in the right direction.. but a 15 minute time limit? What’s the point of even showing up?

    I can almost guarantee putting it online is cheaper than maintaining terminals/security/rule enforcement.

    If they’re going to go all the way to 2009, public meetings should be streamed online, embeddable, downloadable, with comments, and the ability to link 15 minutes into the file (for example). But, is there anywhere such a Utopia exists?

  3. Steven
    1/16/2009 at 7:48 am

    Doing a quick search on the web, lots of places are doing this.

  4. Bob
    1/16/2009 at 8:18 am

    By this do you mean putting these records online?

  5. Steven
    1/16/2009 at 9:39 am

    I was amending my hasty first post about streaming gov’t.

    But I’m pretty sure a number of counties do put their court records online, though maybe in not much more detail than this article mentions. My mate actually knows quite a bit more about this stuff than I do, she’s the online sleuth. I should ask her.

  6. 1/16/2009 at 9:54 am

    Sounds a little insane. One nice thing I experienced recently in Portland is that it’s easier to FILE (not just look up) records online. So, I was able to get a fictitious biz name by just filling out an online form and paying with a credit card. It went in a state-wide database where my bank could look it up. Pretty slick compared to what I had to go through in HumCo.

  7. Lee
    1/20/2009 at 9:52 pm

    Humboldt County is in the final stages of selecting a new Director of the Information Technology Division (replacing Norm Reed who retired in December). At least one finalist candidate is talking about a concerted push toward eGovernment … putting as much on the county web site as possible. Fees, fines, documents, applications, permits, etc. This makes the time of county employees more productive, allows the public to transact business whenever they wish and reduces the number of trips to the courthouse by constituents all the while increasing openness. Did I mention, reduces paperwork?

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