Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog notes on OA to gov. docs

Aaron Shaw, Liveblogging Steve Schultze: Access to Government Documents, Aaron Shaw’s weblog, October 14, 2008.

Keeping with the Open Access theme of the day, Steve Schultze is talking about Open Access to Govt docs and the law today at the Berkman Center luncheon series.

At the moment, Steve’s giving us a guided tour of the ironically named PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system that federal and appelate courts use to archive their documents. The site has a search engine that charges you per query (!) and per page.

It’s an absurdity given the fact that these documents are not copyrightable and that the intention of the folks who set this up was to provide legitimate public and open access to court documents. ...

As Steve points out, the courts face a serious challenge of cost recovery (all of this digitization and database archiving costs money), but in trying to resolve that issue with PACER, the judiciary has introduced obtuse barriers to entry and facilitated the rise of de-facto donwstream monopolies (folks re-archive and sell access to PACER documents on the web). ...

Update. See also the blog notes by Persephone Miel.