What type of information is available to the general public allowed under the freedom of information laws in Indiana?
Open record statutes generally pertain to the availability of information held by government entities. In some instances, companies that are contracted by officials or their agencies to perform certain tasks and responsibilities on behalf of the government can also fall into open records laws. These laws are in place to promote transparent governments and their functions, procedures, future plans, meetings, budgets, documents, recorded materials and more. This source aims to assist users with obtaining recorded documents that are sought by and open to the public. Statutes pertaining to open records, sometimes named sunshine laws, open meetings and records laws and so forth, generally guarantee the access to such records. Other guidelines within open records laws look at issues such as prohibitive costs associated with obtaining public information. However, many of these laws do not address the ease of access in which the public can obtain them. As many government entities do not strive to promote their services as private companies do, their sources and services are not easily found by persons not familiar with requesting public data and where to look. Questions such as 'where do I find marriage and divorce records?' arise before an individual begins the search. Would this be in the state's courts? County clerk, recorder? Or would I go to the the state's health department? Where would I find criminal records? Is this considered public information anyone can view? What is required to obtain this type of information and are the guidelines the same for employers as they are for private individuals or by the person themselves? These answers, although in some venues are similar in many ways, can also greatly vary from state to state, counties and by other local governments. Even when the same guidelines are shared by different agencies, their budgets and number of requests they received are also a factor in where their services are found. An example of this is with larger departments and/or a high volume of requests will have greater access through the web. A functional user friendly portal to public records is helpful where an individual is not certain where to look or begin the search. Where are the best places and easiest ways to obtain information are amongst the main focus and goal. Visitors are also provided a forum in which questions can be asked and answers can be viewed being helpful in specific challenges posed by other users.