For the serious looker

A colleague from out of town visited me yesterday. She and I both work for the same government bureau although she is a full-time employee based at our regional office and I work part-time for the agency in the hinterlands. I have been trying to learn a new phase of my job that I just received training for and she came down to help teach me a little more about it. It didn’t dawn on me until her visit that I will have to be using some of the same Internet search tools I have used for years as a newspaper reporter and more recently as a freelance writer. Everyone has their favorites but here is a few of mine:

Black Book Online
— It is a portal of numerous databases for everything from aircraft registration and pilot licensing to various other state and local sites from which you can, mostly at least, access for free.

Public Data
— It’s not free but is priced at what I consider reasonable. It lets you access a good many state criminal history depositories as well as driver license, voting, license plate and other little nuggets that might otherwise take a little while to find. The cheapest package is 250 searches for $25 a year.

How Far Is It? — That’s a good question and this site, which I suppose advertises something Indonesian (I’ve always been in too much of a hurry to check out the top half of the page), can help you determine the answer via as-the-crow-flies distances of many different locales.

Real Estate Records — “Black Book Online” has links to many state real estate records but many localities have their own sites on which you may search by street or name to find a property along with its appraisal value and other good tidbits of info. The title of this paragraph is our local appraisal district’s site.

Of course there are tons and tons of such sites and most government agencies have databases on everything under the sun and probably within a 1,000 light years from it. Some might even be user friendly. Happy hunting.

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