The Florida Courts have an excellent site, and according to one report they often publish material on the web before it is publicly available in paper form. All of the documents pertaining to yesterday’s Supreme Court of Florida case are online – again, an example of how governments are using the web to distribute primary source material. Years ago I researched a story about an Ontario Court case, and it literally took me weeks to get the primary documents.
I think many of us “in the business” forget about this part of the web from time to time. Nothwithstanding all of the current issues – how to make money, questions of the appropriate use design and technology, usability, etc. – it’s good to remember that the web has made these important (though arcane) documents available to just about anyone who is interested. There’s a great deal of power in that, even if the web were to stay as-is from this day forward.