Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Update on using PACER at the Fordham Law School Library

I called Fordham Law School Library yesterday to see if they have policies in place for public use for PACER. In November a blog posting explained that Fordham had received a grant to help promote the public access to PACER, normally the fee-based federal judiciary's centralized registration, billing, and technical support center for electronic access to U.S. District, Bankruptcy, and Appellate court records. (You can see what new cases are filed each day, and obtain court records, such as filings related to cases. Our Westlaw Campus and Lexis-Nexis databases do not include filing documents.)

The following is what I learned:

Fordham Law School Library- Location and reference phone number
140 W 62 St. New York, NY 10023 (212) 636-6900

Emailed information received from the Fordham Law School Library:

The Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library is pleased to introduce free access to the federal judiciary's Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system as part of a pilot project by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and the Government Printing Office.

What is PACER?
PACER allows users to obtain case file documents, listings of all case parties, judgments, and other information from district, bankruptcy and appellate courts online, with the data immediately available for printing or downloading.

Who can use PACER?
PACER is available to the entire Fordham community, as well as members of the public.

Where can I use PACER?
PACER can be accessed at a dedicated terminal set up on Stack 3 of the Law Library. Under the terms of our agreement, we are unable to provide remote or individual access to the PACER system; all users must be physically present in the Law Library.

How do I use PACER?
To use PACER, ask the Reference Librarian on duty to direct you to the terminal. The Reference Librarian will log you on.

Once logged on, you may access the PACER system for any of the courts that participate in the program. A full list of these courts is available here.

At this time we do not have printing capabilities for our PACER terminal; however, we hope to have this option available, at cost, in the future. Users have the option to save documents to a USB drive.

To ensure optimum usage, a 30 minute time limit will be enforced.

Additional tips learned from a telephone conversation with a reference librarian:

It is best to call ahead on the weekends as only one reference librarian is available. Why is this important: A librarian must sign the user on to a dedicated computer.

Pacer is available the same hours as reference service: Mon. -Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., 9:30 to 5 p.m. Fridays, 10-6 Saturday, 12-8 Sundays.
Important to note: the library is not open to non-Fordham students during reading and exam periods, which will start April 19 and will end May 14.

The reference librarian said it would be good to come with a METRO referral card as the security guards are used to seeing those cards and will understand the request. Otherwise, users could also come to the guards and say they wanted to use PACER or depository materials.

I hope you find this information helpful.

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