Newspaper databases of public records

The online versions of mainstream newspapers continue to distinguish themselves by collecting public records, then making them searchable in a database. I mentioned two sites in a posting last week – DataUniverse (New Jersey) and DataCentral (Iowa). The Boston Herald is doing its part to sunshine the workings of the Massachusetts state government in a database identified as the 2007 State Employee Payroll. This database is unique in collecting public records from the government and making them easily accessible to the public, in a form not otherwise available. Search by partial last name or agency, or combine the two. A search identifies the department, the employee’s name, the job description, weekly hours and annual rate of pay. [Via Media Nation]

The Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle isn’t giving us a unique database but it is linking to some of the public records online databases at the government Web sites.

The Honolulu Advertiser’s Boating Safety Searchable Database is drawn from Coast Guard accident reports. Not all states are included and the site has few details on the extent of the data and the compiling process. Some document images of accident reports are here. The newspaper also has links to selective public records databases hosted at government sites.

Search high school graduates, government salaried employees and high school athletes for selective counties and municipalities in Kentucky and Indiana, at the Courier-Journal DataCenter. Plot property transfers in Jefferson County, Kentucky on a map. Search by street or zip code and sort by date, address or sales price.

Death Notices, building permits and smoking complaints are among the databases collected at this Cincinnati, Ohio paper.

Search Indiana state employee salaries by name and the Indiana Attorney General consumer litigation by company name. Indiana State Police speeding violations are searchable by name or location for the past 6 months.

The Des Moines Register has a variety of types of personal information databases that it has assembled from Iowa state government records. Court fines and business executive salaries are available statewide. Vital records indexes, property transfers, high school graduates and bankruptcies for Polk County can be searched by partial name. Records are indexed for 2007 only.

Check your area Gannett newspaper for their public records databases and public records directories.
[Thanks to Mark Schaver at Depth Reporting for many of these links.]

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