New Site ‘Recycles’ PACER Documents

I can barely keep up with the efforts of Carl Malamud and his public.resource.org to “liberate” government documents. (See 1.8M Pages of Federal Case Law to Go Public and More Government Docs to Go on Web.) The latest project: Recycle Your Used Pacer Documents!. PACER, of course, is the federal judiciary’s system for obtaining case and docket information electronically. The acronym stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records, but that public access comes with a catch — a registration requirement and a user fee of 8 cents per page.

The folks at public.resource.org believe that PACER’s registration requirement and fees create needless obstacles to public access. The idea behind this site is to provide a way for PACER users to upload and share the documents they download from PACER, making them available to others without cost. The site’s operators will review the uploads and post them in bulk.resource.org for future use. (They do this manually, they say, so don’t expect your uploads to appear immediately.) Once added to the system, documents are listed by court and then by docket number. It appears to be searchable on at least a limited basis using Google’s search-this-site feature (e.g.: “site:bulk.resource.org queryterm queryterm”).

Posted in: General
Tagged: courts and public domain
Updated:

2 Responses to “New Site ‘Recycles’ PACER Documents”

  1. Ah – good suggestion on the search-this-site feature in Google. I hadn’t thought of that.

  2. SanFrancisco says:

    As a former systems manager for a federal court district, I must say I agree that the fees for PACER are unnecessary and an obstacle to getting access to the voluminous information produced by the courts. This is an innovative approach, however the execution leaves a lot to be desired. It is nearly impossible to navigate the system they have built so far. It wouldn’t take much to give it some indexing capability, then this might become a viable alternative to PACER itself, over time.

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