More and more public records and other free information -- corporate filings, campaign contributions, property value -- are "out there" on the Web to help make you a better informed citizen.
Here's a partial list of interesting and useful sites, organized by subject. You can search this page in most browsers by holding down the "Control" and "F" keys.
Search for an attorney's bar status and discipline record. (The Mass. Board of Bar Overseers)
Information on companies including location, contact information, products and services, and performance records. (Better Business Bureau)
Find information on nonprofit organizations (requires free registration). (GuideStar)
Find information about the education, training, and experience of licensed physicians. (Mass. Board of Registration in Medicine)
Information on people and companies that hold professional licenses -- barbers, real estate agents, etc. -- in the state. (Mass. Division of Professional Licensure)
Health code inspection records for restaurants in the city of Boston. (Mayor's Food Court)
Health code inspection records for restaurants in the city of Cambridge. (City of Cambridge)
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Search for inspection information by city, state, or zip code. (www.healthinspections.com)
--Trash pickup day
Enter your address to find your...
--Libraries and community centers
--Police and fire stations
--What ward and district you live in
Christian churches located in Boston and Cambridge. (Emmanuel Gospel Center)
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Boston.com's e-mail reminder service for street sweeping. (Boston.com)
News updates from the Boston Police Department. (bpdnews.com)
News updates from the Brookline Police. (blog.brooklinepolice.com/)
An interactive map of homicides in Boston in 2007. (Boston.com)
Use the search tool to check the custody status of an offender. (Vinelink.com)
Information on Level 2 and 3 sex offenders in Massachusetts. (Mass. Sex Offender Registry Board)
A US Department of Justice site linking to state sex offender registries nationwide. (National Sex Offender Public Website)
Find court dockets and calendars, opinions, and rules for the state court system. You can also find court information at the website of the Office of Reporter of Decisions.
Homepage includes court calendar, opinions, and information for potential jurors.
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Homepage includes info on the court, justice biographies, and court documents.
News, events, and information from Boston Public Schools. (www.allaboutbps.blogspot.com/)
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Search for results by district, school, or subject. (Boston.com)
A database of campaign contributions for statewide and legislative offices. (Mass. Office of Campaign and Political Finance)
The Federal Election Commission's campaign finance reports. (Federal Election Commission)
Home page for the city of Boston. From this page, you can find...
Search for registered lobbyists in the state and the entities for whom they work. (Mass. Lobbyist Database)
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Centers Budget Browser is an on-line database with detailed information on the state budget. (massbudget.org)
Home page for the Mass. Senate and House of Representatives. From this page, you can...
A broad overview of contacts for state lawmakers. You can also use the following methods...
Comprehensive list of official resources, from the Constitution to the 9/11 Commission Report.
Enter your address to find who represents you
Home page for the House. From here, you can find and track bills, check the House schedule, access voting records, and see committee information.
A clearinghouse of Senate information and resources. From this page, you can find...
Find where to vote, how to register to vote, and addresses for city and town halls. (Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division)
An in-depth look at Massachusetts cities and towns, with an emphasis on real estate data. (Boston.com)
Search for assessed property values, attributes, and owners. (City of Boston)
Assessed property values for the City of Cambridge. (City of Cambridge)
Links to assessor databases for most communities in Massachusetts. Assessor sites include property values, attributes, and owners. You can also use their site to search other states. (BRB Publications)
Real estate information including homes for sale, comparable homes, historical sales, and home valuation tools. (Zillow.com)
Qualify of life can be hard to measure. But the accompanying charts, from the Globe's regional editions, show how area cities and towns measure up. Click on the links below to compare your community with the rest of the state. For comments or ideas, contact Matt Carroll at email@example.com or leave a comment on the Mass Stats blog.
Search for or file a claim on abandoned property or financial assets. (Mass. Treasury Department, Abandoned Property Division)
Certificates are not available online, but this link tells users how to find and obtain records. (Mass. Registry of Vital Records and Statistics)
The state's collection of business regulations, guidelines, and frequently asked questions. (Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation)
Filings and paperwork for corporations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division)
The Boston Public Library's website offers databases on a variety of subjects, from biographical information to newspaper archives. Anyone with a BPL library card can access these databases. Suburbanites can use the Minuteman Library Network's site in the northern suburbs or the Old Colony Library Network's site in the southern suburbs.