Doxpop - Tools for Attorneys and Public Information Researchers: Grant County moves to Odyssey, but don't worry! -The information and features you're used to are still available on Doxpop

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grant County moves to Odyssey, but don't worry! -The information and features you're used to are still available on Doxpop

Grant County has recently made the switch to JTAC's Odyssey System for management of court cases. Over the next couple days, you may notice some oddities on Doxpop while this transition takes place. The most important thing to remember is that all Grant County court information is still available and current on Doxpop, along with current court information from 82 other Indiana Counties.

How does this  change affect Doxpop customers in Grant County?

In the long run, there will be no significant change. However during the next week, you may notice a few rough edges as we merge data:

  • When you use Doxpop's personal calendar feature, you will see two colors for Grant County on your calendar. Every event will be available, but the older cases will have a different color from the newer cases. When we complete the merge process, these will go back to being a single color.
  • When you look at Grant County's Details Page, you will find two entries for each court until the merge is complete.
  • If you use any of our email alert services, you may receive extra notifications during the transition period.
  • When you are doing searches, you will find two entries for some cases. This is because while we are loading the information from Odyssey, we will also be maintaining the old data until the operation is complete to ensure you don't miss anything. When you see two case entries, please look at both to ensure you have the most current information.
  • The only lasting change in available information is the financial information. The Indiana Division of State Court Administration has informed us that the clerks using the Odyssey system prefer that financial information not be made public. The Clerks in the other 48 counties we serve have decided that this is useful information that the public should have access to, so we're puzzled that only Clerks using Odyssey have decided not to share this information. If you think financial transactions are an important part of the public record, please ask the clerks you work with to contact the Division about making it available through Doxpop.

How does Doxpop provide access to Odyssey Data?

During our last transition for an Odyssey county, one user commented that they thought Doxpop might be "stealing" Odyssey data from the State. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doxpop pays the Division of State Court Administration more than $13,000 per month for access to this "public" information. Doxpop then aggregates the information into our database to provide you with integrated access to 83 Indiana counties in a single, powerful research site. This is a lot of work for us, and because we receive no public funding, an expensive effort, but we think the results are worth it.

The Grant County transition will not take long and everything will be back to normal within a week.

If you have any questions regarding this transition, please call our toll free number at 866-369-7671.


Anonymous said...

I have found that the Indiana Office of Technology/Division of State Court Administration unjustifiably tries to restrict access to Indiana court records on the Odyssey system, even though the records are public records. The way the try to restrict and prevent access to these records is almost as if they were a private company trying to protect data that they owned. I'm guessing this is so they can protect their revenue stream from selling the court recordds in bulk. What a joke...

Nick Fankhauser said...

We share some of your concerns. There are some reasonable justifications for limiting access to records that might be harmful to a person. However, as you have noted, the rules governing the flow of "public" information do indeed seem to favor the financial interests of the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee. Whenever a government agency begins to act like a business, the public should be concerned.

Anonymous said...

I cannot agree that Doxpop is "stealing" data (afterall, Doxpop pays fair and square for this information according to state law) However, I do think it's a bit of stretch to continually state that the information is provided by Doxpop at "no cost to the taxpayer".

You have to consider the fact that the taxpayer has already paid for the staff who enter information into Odyssey (or an alternate case management system), and it is the taxpayer who has paid for this case management system itself.

Doxpop then accesses this taxpayer funded case management system, that has been neatly organized in a form ready to be "dropped" conveniently for Doxpop to buy and sell at a profit. So, while I understand the tax-payer "championing" marketing strategy, without tax payer funds, Doxpop wouldn't necessarily be in business. But business is business, and you have to hand it to Doxpop for their efforts and success in selling public information that is available for free elsewhere.

Nick Fankhauser said...

Anon- First, thanks for taking the time to read enough of our posts to note that we continually toss out the phrase "no cost to the taxpayer". This continuous drumbeat on that point is no accident.

We highlight that point both because it is literally true, and because it is the greatest differentiator between Doxpop and the systems we compete with.

Although I don't completely agree with your conclusion, I appreciate your thoughtful analysis and believe it deserves an equally thoughtful response, so I'll turn the response into a blog post of it's own. Keep an eye on this blog for a more thorough discussion of the costs and public policy issues connected with the service of organizing and accessing public information.