Home > Internet Use > Online Databases for Investigative Use

Online Databases for Investigative Use

By: Robin Mizell - Updated: 23 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Freedom Of Information Act Public Sector

The Freedom of Information Act has led to a proliferation of electronic databases. Various methods for disseminating documents requested by the public were typically chosen for their cost-effectiveness. Ease of use was not always a primary concern. Consequently database technology providers took advantage of the need to aggregate information. They began to market easier access to compiled data in sectors where the information was most valuable: to legal practitioners, librarians, law enforcement agencies, and financial analysts. Public records have remained somewhat easier for professionals to locate for a fee than for the general public to obtain free of cost.

When your investigation would benefit from information contained in public records, you have a choice. If you have the time, you can query one database after another via the Internet or the local library. If you have the funds, you can pay a solicitor, private investigator, or other professional to conduct the search for you.

With the caveat that new information sources are continually emerging on the Web, here are some good places to begin your database research:

British and Irish Legal Information Institute

This source provides “access to freely available British and Irish public legal information” and is a particularly useful website for anyone researching statutes or case law.

Criminal Records Bureau

This agency of the Home Office handles criminal records disclosures. Though it does not process applications for disclosures online, its website describes how criminal records can be obtained strictly for authorised purposes.

Directgov

You can order a copy of a birth, death, or marriage certificate through this one-stop UK public service website.

Land Register Online

Obtain copies of title registers for properties in England and Wales on this site. Title registers include the property description, owner’s name, and name of the mortgage holder. Included are selling prices of properties registered since April 2000.

The National Archives

In addition to explaining the Freedom of Information Act and how to submit a request for information, this government agency’s website also provides do-it-yourself guides and information about paying for research.

Office of Public Sector Information

You can search UK legislation dating back to 1988 on this office’s website.

XHIBIT

Her Majesty’s Courts Service’s website lets you view hearing information each day for every Crown Court in England and Wales.

Corporate Intelligence

The Companies House website lets you look up a business’s date of incorporation, registered address, and previous names. Other online databases you can use to conduct research on businesses are described in Finding Out About Current or Future Employers.

Newspaper, Magazine, and Journal Archives

News archives can be easily searched via the BBC News; Ecologist; ENDS Report; Financial Times; Guardian; Multinational Monitor; Telegraph; Times Online; and other international, local, and alternative news agencies’ websites. For newspaper archives not available free of charge on the Web, try the periodicals databases available at your local library or though your library’s website. A portion of the vast number of scientific and trade journals is available on the Internet through the Directory of Open Access Journals. The remainder are accessible through your library’s database services.

People Finders

There’s no shortage of Web-based directories you can query using a person’s name, address, telephone number, or email address. You can and should probably avoid those that require payment for information.

Social and business networking sites are among the most popular Internet resources. Newer, better, and trendier online databases and aggregators are always springing up on the Web. It’s wise to conduct a search engine query for the latest information technology developments periodically. You can also get advice from your “Local Library,” whose professional staff have an obligation to stay abreast of the latest technology trends. Better yet, register for an email newsletter or feed on the topic of your choosing.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • TomCallan
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Y’all aren’t the most perceptive people are you? First things first, you need to be at least 17 and a half to apply and have full British…
    22 September 2019
  • healer
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Hi Im healer and please take me I will do all the missions and I will always follow the orders please take me Thank you!
    11 August 2019
  • Black Mafia
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I'm 13 I live in Nigeria I've lived in the US and I want to join the MI6 so madly I spy on little people please give me the opportunity to work…
    10 August 2019
  • Gonaburst
    Re: How to Join MI6
    So i am a 12 year old girl and i really want to become part of the MI6 any time soon probably at the age of 14 however i dont know how to sigh up…
    2 July 2019
  • Anton
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I would love to join. I have immense emotional intelligence, great at forming relationships, trust is the highest thing I value. Trust me, I know a…
    1 July 2019
  • Karim
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I am a British citizen and ethnic afghan and I can believe that I can be very useful. I can speak Persian , Pashto, Urdo , punjabi and English.
    25 June 2019
  • Mermaid
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I am a 13 year old girl who was born in Britain and lives in a kurdish household. next week I will be choosing my options for year 9 and GCSEs and…
    2 May 2019
  • Anonymous
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I am not a British citizen, I am a 16yr old who would love to work for the SIS n serve MI6.
    12 March 2019
  • Unknown
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Dear Thomas, I am a 13 year old girl for Latvia, living in the UK. I’ve always been interested in secret missions, I’ve been watching films…
    12 February 2019
  • agent
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Im going to chose my GCSES next month so i am wondering what i would need to because it is a lifelong dream to work for MI6
    12 January 2019