Online access to data growing in Indiana

Have you been keeping up with the various online projects designed to provide more robust public access to state and local public records? From court cases to government spending, there’s a lot of new information available at your fingertips.

Two sites in particular allow the public to get a detailed look at government spending. The Indiana Transparency Portal was actually launched about two years ago, though this is its first mention on ICOG’s site. Viewers can search state expenditures and employee salaries, track performance of state programs and look up state contracts.

And last year, the Department of Local Government Finance created the Indiana Gateway for Government Units, allowing users to get detailed information about local government spending. In addition to building custom reports to analyze local government units, members of the public can download data for their own analyses of what government is up to.

Finally, did you know the state Supreme Court has created a statewide online court case database? It’s called Odyssey, and it’s searchable even when courts offices are closed. The database is a work in progress, with additional courts yet to be added. Also, we’d like to see the ability to make bulk downloads of case data. Still, what’s available now is a good start (an ICOG board member who shall remain unnamed found his recent traffic citation online in just a couple clicks!) and a major convenience for those seeking court case information from far-flung locations.

While you’re on these sites, click the links provided and offer your suggestions for what else you’d like to see. And while you’re at it, let us know . ICOG is always interested in hearing citizens’ observations and suggestions about access to government information, whether online or not.