Sqoop adds federal courts, detail pages, and other improvementsApril 22, 2015
Over the past few months, we’ve seen how reporters from nationally recognized media have used Sqoop to break stories on everything from Apple working on an iPad cover that wirelessly charges the device, to Virgin America insiders “dumping” their stock to a trilogy of stories from a number of media outlets involving changes in the CFO’s office at Google. These, of course, originated from SEC and Patent Office data that Sqoop collects and makes available to journalists who use the site.
Federal Courts data
Now we’re pleased to introduce data from the Federal Courts system. If, to use the example above, you follow Google, you’ll now be notified every time there’s a new case referencing Google in the Federal Courts system. Similarly, you’ll see new court docket entries show up in your search results. Of course, you can refine your results by source by selecting or deselecting SEC, Patent Office or Fed Cases in the left sidebar.
Because the court documents themselves are behind a pay wall at Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER, there is limited information Sqoop can provide: case title, date, jurisdiction, and docket entry title. If you want to view the document, you’ll need to click through to PACER and access the document with account credentials. PACER charges about $.10 per page.
But Sqoop can help you find this information more easily, and most importantly, alert you whenever a company you follow becomes involved in litigation. In a future update, we’ll help you decide which cases you want to follow so that you can receive alerts with every new update to a case docket. Today, we’ll only notify you about new court cases Sqoop becomes aware of so that we don’t spam you.
We started collecting Federal Courts data on March 9 and already we’ve collected more than 4.5 million individual entries for more than one million court case dockets. That’s five times the number of SEC documents we’ve collected since last summer in dockets alone.
As we’ve only been collecting Federal Courts data since March, we may send an alert for the first docket entry we receive, even if the case has been ongoing. The likelihood of such alerts will decline over time, and we’ll compensate for this noise by only alerting you once for a given docket.
We don’t have any way of collecting earlier docket information due to the previously mentioned PACER pay wall. Since we know that information about newly opened cases and new developments in ongoing cases are important to you, we hope this is short-term inconvenience.
In a future version, we plan to offer you the ability to follow a specific case, or to opt-out of it. So if you opt-in, you’d get alerts about every new docket update, whereas today, we’ll only notify you about new cases.
We are also pleased to offer you a new feature called detail pages in which we provide additional document details beyond the initial search result. For example, if you receive a search result or alert about a Google Form 4, instead of just throwing you to the SEC form, we’ll provide a detail page that will show how many shares were involved in the transaction, and, if the disclosure involved a sale, we’ll estimate the math and show you, for example, that Sergey Brin sold $18.5 million. From here, you can access the original SEC form for additional details. The new streamlined search page will now show you that Mr. Brin regularly sells shares as part of a 10b5-1 trading plan.
For Patents and Court cases, detail pages will similarly expand upon the short search result you receive. For patents, specifically, we have plans to add further detail, including images, in future versions. Not only do these pages give you the additional information you need to decide on the newsworthiness of any particular disclosure, and providing details beyond the underlying public documents in some cases, but you can also link to these pages in your articles.
We’ve made a number of other changes that are readily noticeable and others that are under the hood. Detail pages have allowed us to abbreviate search results so we can give you more information per page, and so we take up less real estate in your email alerts. Further, we’ve made some design changes to make it easier to navigate the search results page and to set alerts, whether they are for SEC filings, Patent grants and applications, Federal Courts records or some combination.
We’ve recently expanded the team so we hope we’ll be bringing new data sources, features and experience improvements to market more quickly. As always, we are building this for journalists, so if there are data sources you’d like to see us collect, features or improvements you’d like to request, or just have an idea or feedback, we want to hear it. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org