Accountability

Published — March 16, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Let the sun shine In during Sunshine Week

Introduction

This marks one of PaperTrail’s favorite weeks of the year. No, not Spring Break. Sunshine Week.

Sunshine Week, led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, revolves around two questions that every citizen has the right to ask: What is the government doing? And why is it doing it?

Over at Sunshine Week headquarters, they’ve posted a lot of valuable info. What jumps out to PaperTrail is the 2009 Survey of State Government Information. The survey found that, while more information is available digitally, “some of the most important information is being left offline” or requires payment to access. In some states that includes records as basic as death certificates.

Starting with a list of 20 government records, the survey offers a state-by-state breakdown of how digitally accessible those records are. And while you’re at it, tell us your stories about looking for public records online.

Check back with PaperTrail as we celebrate Sunshine Week with additional coverage, including a tutorial on how to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

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