Tracking down public records

2003 Special Libraries Association Annual Conference
News Division Continuing Education Course

Sunday, June 8, 2003

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Table of Contents

Tracking down public records

Your Client: The Reporter

Reporters lead difficult lives

An Interview

This Story Began With a Government Document

Source: National Archives, College Park, Md.

Why Government Records?

The Candidate's Words

The Official Record

The Top Official's Quote

Tools for Government Records

So Many Governments, So Little Time

So Many Jurisdictions...


Department of Justice FOIA Requests

The Internet

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records)

The Future of Court Records

TRAC (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse)

Screen shots of TRAC

Deeds, liens, etc.

Uniform Commercial Code filings

Electronic Data

Government Records and Clothing

Internal Database

Database Screenshot

Images of sweatshops

BATF gun tracing data available

The story...

Licensed Nurse's Aids

Database of nurse's aids with criminal pasts

The story...

Public records are the backbone of investigations

The Tip: Go to certain farms or factories and you will find children working illegally.

We decide to use a web site to manage

MS Internet Info Server, SQL Server and Lotus Notes

Research assembled to prep reporters

Searchable in-house data

Web can provide detailed reporting aids.

Reporters search for underage workers

...and find them.

...and find them.

...and find them.

Quotes, anecdotes, interviews meshed

The story moves on the wire

Images of news articles

Finding Mimi

Must-have public records data

Bob's Top 10 Web Sites

Author: Bob Port, New York Daily News


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