Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Working Group Recommends PACER Pilot Project for Depository Libraries

PACER is an electronic service run by the Administrative Office of the U.S
Courts on a cost-recovery basis. The service provides access to case and
docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts,
and the U.S. Party/Case Index, which is a national locator for cases filed
in federal courts.

At the request of the American Association of Law Libraries, the Government Printing Office asked a working group of the Administrative Office to consider providing no-fee public access through Federal depository libraries to PACER. The Law Library is a Federal depository library.

As a result, the working group recommended that the Judiciary initiate a one year pilot project to assess the effect of free public access through the FDLP, noting that:
* The pilot will determine if concerns that free access will adversely
impact PACER revenues are, or are not, legitimate;
* Depository libraries have knowledgeable and trained librarians who can
assist patrons in using PACER and that the marketing effect of providing
free PACER access at depository libraries may actually benefit the PACER
program and the Judiciary through eventual increases in revenues.

The pilot proposal must be approved by the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM) at its June 2007 meeting. If approved, it will be recommended to Judicial Conference in September 2007.

The working group recommends that Administrative Office staff be permitted
to begin working on the conditions for the pilot immediately, so that the
pilot can begin immediately upon approval by the Judicial Conference. The
working group also recommends that the pilot should run for at least one
year and that a report on the results of the pilot be provided to the CACM
for its consideration on continuing, expanding, or terminating the provision
of free PACER access at the Federal depository libraries.

Excerpted from: Law-lib

Posted by J. Russell - Superintendent of Documents

January 23, 2007