Skip to content

RECAP Documents Now More Searchable Via Internet Archive

2010 April 19
by recapthelaw

We recently made a small change to the way that documents uploaded by RECAP users are made available on the Internet Archive. Until today, the Internet Archive had served primarily as a bulk hosting provider, without much ability to browse or search the archive. This was enforced in two ways: First, it was not possible to search for documents using the Internet Archive’s search tools. Second, external search engines were prevented from indexing the site. We decided to do this in order to be especially cautious with respect to privacy concerns that we have previously discussed.

Since we launched, we have spent a great deal of time examining these issues, and we decided to make a small incremental step in making the documents more findable without (yet) allowing in-depth full-text search of all documents. We have enabled Internet Archive indexing, as well as search engine indexing, for the case summary pages on the Internet Archive. That means, for example, that the relatively limited information on the AT&T v. Hepting case summary page is now searchable.

You can find this case through the Internet Archive search engine by doing a query like this:
http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=collection:usfederalcourts AND hepting

You can find this case through a Google query like this:
http://www.google.com/#&q=site:archive.org usfederalcourts hepting

As we continue to gain a better understanding of the privacy issues at stake, we will likely make further improvements to this system. We welcome your feedback.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010

    When will the archive be directly searched by Google Scholar?

    Are there plans for the archive to develop its own search tools, e.g. windows 7 gadget, search via a specific archive web page?

    Have you noticed any changes within PACER, e.g. the Administrative Office and the Judicial Conference making explicit changes, published plans for changes, planned changes in the Judicial Conference budget to directly fund IT via congressional appropriation, etc?

    Regarding changes in PACER, have personally noticed that docket reports within the Northern District of Ohio [Cleveland] are recently available at no charge.

  2. May 11, 2010

    “When will the archive be directly searched by Google Scholar?”

    We’re not sure when, but it’s in the works.

    “Are there plans for the archive to develop its own search tools, e.g. windows 7 gadget, search via a specific archive web page?”

    We are working on our own search tools, which we hope to demo soon.

    “Have you noticed any changes within PACER, e.g. the Administrative Office and the Judicial Conference making explicit changes, published plans for changes, planned changes in the Judicial Conference budget to directly fund IT via congressional appropriation, etc?”

    This is a long process, but the courts are definitely paying attention and we continue to get more leverage from others in DC. I describe some of this on my blog:

    http://managingmiracles.blogspot.com/search/label/PACER

    “Regarding changes in PACER, have personally noticed that docket reports within the Northern District of Ohio [Cleveland] are recently available at no charge.”

    I don’t see that. Can you point me to documentation or describe how to get those reports?

  3. May 12, 2010

    Steve–

    Thank you very much.

    In answer to your question regarding no charge for docket reports within the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland), all that I know and can confirm is that when I, personally, login to PACER and requests docket reports from the above court and within the last few months, that I am not charged a fee for those reports if I request those reports in Adobe PDF formats. However, if I request them in HTML format, a charge occurs.

    On a separate note, this may be the wrong forum and should possibly be presented to you on your blog, when will your working paper on PACER finances be finalized?

    I view your working paper as a fundamental authoritative source to be used in correspondence and communication that I have, from time to time, with public officials that include federal judges.

    A discussion with Karen Redmond of the Administrative Office of the Federal Courts, indicated that recommended changes to PACER by the Judicial Conference is due out in June 2010. It may be publicly available as soon as August 2010.

    The Administrative Office is highly concerned about Congressional budget cuts within the federal court’s budget. If such is the case, the objective to ‘free’ PACER may be a significant obstacle, however, one that I believe can be easily overcome. I will not take up space by getting into here and now my personal analysis to accomplish such.

    Again, thanks for you response.

  4. May 12, 2010

    “I am not charged a fee for those reports if I request those reports in Adobe PDF formats”

    Crazy. You’re right. This doesn’t appear to be true in the other districts I’ve looked at. This only highlights the issues with the decentralized technical/policy structure of the system.

    “On a separate note, this may be the wrong forum and should possibly be presented to you on your blog, when will your working paper on PACER finances be finalized?”

    I’ve been crunching some more numbers that I want to include. Most likely I’ll do a blog post about that work soon and then an update to the paper further down the line.

    “A discussion with Karen Redmond of the Administrative Office of the Federal Courts, indicated that recommended changes to PACER by the Judicial Conference is due out in June 2010. It may be publicly available as soon as August 2010.”

    They’ve got some downtime for the main Pacer Service Center site scheduled in a couple of days, and I hope that’s not the sum total of their improvements:

    http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/announcements/general/downnew.html

    “The Administrative Office is highly concerned about Congressional budget cuts within the federal court’s budget. If such is the case, the objective to ‘free’ PACER may be a significant obstacle, however, one that I believe can be easily overcome.”

    I agree with you on both counts, and fortunately so do several Members of Congress.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS