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State Agency Databases Report 6/29/2011

State Agency Databases Report 6/29/2011

There’s been new activity for the State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States project on the ALA GODORT wiki. I’ve decided to start making occasional reports when it seems like there is enough activity to justify a report.

Databases removed from project pages due to dead and apparently unrecoverable links:


– Who’s Who in Arizona GIS
– WRA/WRITE Project Database
– Brownfields Search Utility

New Jersey

– Brownfields SiteMart
– Bike project database

For details on the above, click on the “history” tab of the state page and click on a previous version.

If you know of a new link for one of the above items, please let me know.

Databases ADDED to project pages:


– Doctor Search (Arizona Medical Board)
– ADWR Image Records Database (Water Resources)
– AZURITE License Application Query Utility

Volunteer Changes

Alabama – Paula Webb taking over from Valerie Glenn.
Maryland – Page is now open for adoption.

General Notes

– Project volunteers who have not updated their pages since January 2010 are being contacted about their continued participation in the project.
– Project pages without volunteers are in the process of being link checked.

If you have questions or comments about this project, feel free to contact me at dnlcornwall@alaska.net

Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, April 13, 2010.

This report evaluates states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0” – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. At least 7 states have become leaders in the drive toward Transparency 2.0, launching easy-to-use, searchable Web sites with a wide range of spending transparency information. Twenty-five additional states have made initial steps toward online spending transparency by launching Web sites with checkbook-level detail on state spending that nonetheless have much room for improvement.

Problems with Accessibility of California Law

Law student, Robb Shecter, who has created the OregonLaws.Org web site, wrote us recently about the fact that California Codes have accessibility issues:

The California Codes are published online (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html) with crucial information absent (removed?) that renders them nearly impossible to use:

No Section names (“leadlines”) are present in this version-for-the-public. For example, the Sections relevant to the California Highway Patrol are presented like this:


The sections are thus relatively unusable, greatly increasing the cost of legal research and defeating access and transparency for nearly all people. The missing information is also crucial for third parties (like me) who’d like to create easy-to-use directories of the codes.

The needed information does seem to exist, however.  The names for this particular section, for example, can be found on the DMV website, for example:


Those DMV pages are unfortunately the exception that proves the rule. After seeing these Section names, it should be immediately obvious that these represent a crucial element of the codes that should be published along with the codes.

Oregon once again claims that law is copyrighted

Oregon once again claims that law is copyrighted, by Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, October 30, 2009.

The Oregon Attorney General has asserted ownership over the “Attorney General’s Public Record” and “Public Meeting Manual.”

See also:

Arizona Court Rules on Public Records Metadata

Lobbyists beware: judge rules metadata is public record, By Jon Stokes, ars technica (October 29, 2009).

“The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the metadata attached to public records is itself a public record. Given the frequency with which metadata outs lobbyists’ and corporations’ efforts to mask their own contributions to public debates, this is a good thing.”