Access to electronic public records : a 50 state study
Metadata[+] Show full item record
This research explores the accessibility of state public records in electronic format by examining certain specific factors that can define "accessibility." This study includes a 50-state (plus D.C.) survey to assess how states responded to a request for commonly-sought records in an electronic format, comparing the quality of responses. Specifically, this research looked at whether states prioritized access to records in electronic format by proactively making electronic records available, and how states responded to requests for records in an electronic format, in terms of agency response time, compliance with state law, fees charged, and the format, quality and comprehensiveness of responsive records. This study also examines how easily navigable the transparency portals and online records request options were. A preview of the findings are as follows: States with an online records request submission option had a slightly faster response rate overall than states that required citizens to submit requests by mail. The mode of response skewed heavily toward electronic communication, with less than 20 percent of states responding by either mail or phone. Ten states failed to adequately respond to the records request and failed to grant or deny the request in whole or in part. Seven states required payment of a fee before the request could be processed, and the fees ranged drastically, from $17 in Missouri to potentially $195,000.00 in South Dakota. About half of all states provided the data in the format requested and nearly all states proactively provided at least some salary data online. However, the comprehensiveness of the data received was lacking.