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September 19, 2011

Wisconsin Court System Redesigns Website

The Wisconsin court system has recently redesigned its Web site.

According to the press release, "in addition to a new graphical presentation, the new Web site helps guides visitors with better organized tabs and drop-down menus..."

The press release describes two new features on the home page:

  • The "quick links" tab leads visitors to each court system department;

  • the "How do I?" section helps guide visitors most directly to the area of the site they need, whether it's to pay a fine or find a courthouse.


September 16, 2011

Federal Courts Increase PACER Fees by 25%

"The federal courts announced on Tuesday that they would be increasing fees for accessing public court records by 25 percent, from 8 per page to 10 per page," reports Ars Technica.

The article goes on to discuss how the extra revenue will be used - note that it's not to maintain PACER which already generates revenues in excess of expenses.

According to the author,

... diverting PACER fees to projects unrelated to PACER may be illegal. Harlan Yu, an open government expert at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, points to the 2002 law authorizing the PACER fees, which states that those fees may be charged "only to the extent necessary" to cover the costs of providing public access. Congress "sought to have a system in which the information is 'freely available to the greatest extent possible,'" he told Ars, quoting from the conference report that accompanied the legislation.

September 7, 2011

JSTOR Makes Early Journal Content Freely Available

Today, JSTOR announced that they are making journal content published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

This "Early Journal Content" includes discourse and scholarship in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, and in mathematics and other sciences. It includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals.

See the press release and FAQ for more information.

September 6, 2011

WI Legislature Releases New Web Platform for Wisconsin Statutes

The Wisconsin Legislature has officially released the dramatically improved web search platform for the Wisconsin Statutes. It has been available in beta for a while (see my earlier post about it), but now it is the default platform.

According to a press release:

The new search engine, which is easier to use, will present more results and in a format that resembles prominent Internet search engines.

The views of the statutes are also richer, allowing continuous scrolling through an easier to read interface and containing more hypertext links and more information about each statute section. PDF files on the site have also been enriched to include hyperlinks.

The following screen shot shows some of the new features available, including PDF views, cross reference links, permalinks, RSS alerts, and more.

According to the LRB's Bruce Hoesly, the old platform is currently still available, but will be phased out by the end of the year.

Also, the legislature will update the Web versions of the Wisconsin Administrative Code and the Wisconsin Administrative Register over the course of the next few weeks.