Friday, 14 August 2009

Improving PACER

From the Academic Law Libraries group:
RECAP is a free extension for Firefox that improves the experience of using PACER, the electronic public access system for the U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts. Some of the things it does:
- Contributes to a public archive hosted by the Internet Archive
- Saves you money: Shows you when free documents are available
- Keeps you organized: Gives you better filenames, enables useful headers
From the RECAP website:
"Since the 1980s, the cutting edge of judicial transparency has been PACER, an electronic system that allows attorneys and the general public to access millions of federal court records. PACER was a big step forward when it was originally created, but lately it has begun to show its age. At a time when the other two branches of government are becoming ever more subject to online scrutiny, the judicial branch still requires citizens to provide a credit card and pay eight cents a page for its documents...
Today we’re excited to release the public beta of RECAP. RECAP is an extension to the popular Firefox web browser that gives PACER users a hassle-free way to contribute to a free, open repository of federal court records. When a RECAP user purchases a document from PACER, the RECAP extension helps her automatically send a copy of that document to the RECAP archive. And RECAP saves its users money by notifying them when documents they’re searching for are already available for free from the public archive.
RECAP is a project of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. It was developed by Harlan Yu, Steve Schultze, and Timothy B. Lee, under the supervision of Prof. Ed Felten...
The RECAP repository is hosted by the Internet Archive, a world-renowned online library. With the help of RECAP users, we want to build the nation’s most comprehensive public archive of freely-available federal judicial records. And we’re looking for partners to help us build the archive more quickly and find new, innovative uses for the information. We are already working with Justia and to integrate the public records they already have into our archive."

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