Monday, February 11, 2013

Where is That Record? Finding Public Records Online

by Sam Richter

Unfortunately there is no public records meta-search that is free and complete, meaning that you need to search for public records by the specific government entity and geography. Fortunately Black Book Online has a well-organized public records directory. The site features links to just about every available public records search resource.
Blackbook Online Public Records Selection Screen
When you first access the site, you will be tempted to type a name into the main search form. Don’t, because it won’t work. What the main search engine does is let you know the website where a particular public record might be located. So, for example, you can enter ‘driving records Ohio’ (do not use Boolean) into the search form and the results list will include third-party websites where you can access your information.

You’ll notice on the results page that each result contains a brief site description. It will also indicate whether the information is free or if you’ll have to pay for access. As a directory engine, Black Book Online features lists of links to its extensive resource database. You can choose by category or by state. You can also build your own custom search by clicking on the “Custom Search” link in the category section.

Blackbook Online Public Records Search ResultBlack Book Online makes it easy to find a website where a public record might be located. However, once you access the site, finding the information you want might be more challenging. For example, if you want court records in Minnesota, you can use Black Book Online to easily find the various Minnesota court websites. However, navigating each site can be difficult as they are all different in the way they provide access to information.

Before diving into Black Book Online, make sure you have some time. The site can be addicting, and scary, when you realize what is publicly available on you and others. Public records are now a click away, now that you Know More!

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