A big helping of open-government resources

As part of its mission to empower citizens and assist journalists, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition has published on its website a list of free resources on how to access public information.

We’ve also compiled a categorized directory of public data available online from state and local governments in Colorado.

There is quite a bit of public data on the web, no Colorado Open Records Act request required. But these sources aren’t always obvious, even with a Google search. So we thought it would helpful to put those we know about in one central place.

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You’ll find campaign-finance and crime data, demographic information, tons of health and education statistics, and a growing amount of local data made available by cities and counties. A lot of information is downloadable as pdfs, Excel spreadsheets, ESRI shapefiles and in other formats. Some information is searchable online and most of it is free. A few sites, like the Colorado Courts Record Search and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s criminal records check, require payment.

The how-to resources include a template for filing your own open-records request and a recently updated guide to Colorado’s open-government laws, prepared by the Colorado Press Association and the CFOIC.

We’ll continue to expand both lists and add additional resource pages in the future. Suggest a resource to add by contacting us here.

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