The Google project to assist 4 state governments – Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia – in their indexing of public records is explored in Google Burrows into State Government Data, written by Barbara Quint. This project will daylight more state government records, including personal information records, which are public records currently available, but not through a search engine.
Would you like to be able to search by name, business name or address through all the California Department of Consumer Affairs license records in one Google search, for free? This won’t replace the all-in-one search of professional license records available through proprietary databases, which often archive historical data not at the government sites, but it will be an advantageous supplement.
So, I went on a mini mission to see how best to search for a personal name across all California professional license records. I formulated queries of last names only, first and last names, – with and without quotations – single words and also names in reverse order. There wasn’t enough of a pattern in the results that I could say which records can be reached through the search engine at this time. But take a look at these results to get a sense of where this project is headed and just how significant it could become as more states participate.
After many trial runs I settled on this simple query for the word/name “Wren”. It returned results from the Division of Workers’ Compensation Medical Unit physician complaints, Alcoholic Beverage Control licenses, Engineer and Land Surveyor license holders, and license and personnel details from the Contractor State License Board and the Department of Real Estate.
A search at the State of California search engine, powered by Google, returned mostly PDF and Word files, not the dynamically generated content in the license records.
See also, Find public records in the deep Web, PI buzz.