Online Open Source Document Databases Are Public Records Resources

When a public record is not easily accessible from its government location, a secondary search strategy is to look for the document in an online, open source database.  These document warehouses often have comprehensive categories to which anyone can upload relevant documents and resources, so you may even be able to find things that are not traditionally available as public records.  Try these two websites the next time you are looking for a particular public record: Docstoc

Docstoc has both free and for-purchase documents that can also be embedded in blogs and media.  Some particularly useful public records available there are:

  • Legal documents including business formations, company agreements, contracts, court documents, marriage records, divorce records, government documents, patents, trademarks, wills and trusts.
  • Business documents such as business letters, corporate finance, employment forms, entrepreneurship and business plans, financial models, financing, health and safety forms, market research, NGO documents, non-profit documents, operations, project management, press releases, sales agreements, marketing plans and advertising.
  • Personal finance documents like auto and home loans, financial models, debt and credit documents, financial planning and investments.
  • Real estate agreements and property records.
  • Scientific and academic papers.

There are also documents relating to other fields including technology, education, current events, politics and history, arts and literature, medicine and entertainment.


Scribd allows people to upload and share original documents.  There is an emphasis on creative documents such as books, games, and illustrations, but the website also hosts some valuable public records including:

  • Government documents
  • Business and law documents
  • Research publications
  • Resumes and CVs