ACORN Archived Court Reporter Notes

Reporter tested, Court approved!

ACORN is a web-based service that provides secure, long term storage of court reporter notes in electronic format. It was originally developed for the Los Angeles County Superior Court for their more than 600 reporters in 32 different courthouses and has been in daily use by them since 1998. Today, it is used by nearly 80% of the official court reporters in California and is now expanding to courts in other states.

ACORN provides an easy way for reporters to store their notes electronically on a secure archival server. It stores raw notes, dictionaries, and even transcribed notes. Reporter can identify their note files by type, such as criminal, civil, juvenile, can include case numbers and dates, and can add comments. Special situations such as death penalty, LWOP, or sealed records can also be flagged.

ACORN maintains a permanent electronic copy of the note files for the court. In situations where the court needs a copy of the notes but the reporter is no longer available, the archived notes can be accessed by the court appointed system administrator. As additional security, each quarter the court is provided with backup CDs containing copies of all new note files uploaded by the reporters during the previous quarter. Courts may also opt to receive the quarterly backup data as an FTP transfer rather than on CDs.

ACORN creates a separate account for each reporter on the archival server. Each reporter must log in with their own assigned user ID and password. The user ID is their CSR number. Reporters may select their own password. All the notes for a reporter are stored in that reporterís directory on the archival server.

ACORN requires that an individual be designated by the court as the court's ACORN system administrator. Depending upon the court, the duties of this individual may include setting up new reporter accounts, creating various management reports, retrieving notes, and so on. Some courts allow the reporters to retrieve copies of their own notes, while others restrict this activity to the system administrator.

ACORN is provided as a monthly subscription service. There is no hardware or software to purchase, either by the court or by the reporter. Everything is done with a normal Internet connection and standard web pages.

Extensive security is in place to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to any of the files. All files are stored redundantly, with duplicate copies on multiple hard disks, backup tapes, and CD media.

The ACORN system is very simple to use. Here is a sample of how it works.

1. The first step is to log on to the ACORN service. This is done by opening the ACORN web page that was created for the court. On the web page, the reporter enters their CSR Number and password and clicks on the Login button.

2. When the reporter logs in successfully, the Welcome screen is displayed. The reporter can choose Upload, Search, Change Password, or Logout options. 

The Upload Files screen is used to upload new files to the ACORN archival server. The reporter first identifies the file or files to be uploaded, either by entering the file name or by using the Browse button. For each file, additional information can be entered, including the case date, number, and type, the file type, any special flags for death penalty, LWOP, or sealed records, and any other miscellaneous comments that the reporter wants to add to the file record.

When all of the information has been entered, the reporter can click on the Next button to proceed to the next screen.

When the reporter clicks on the Next button on the Upload Files screen, the Upload Confirmation screen is displayed. This screen will list all of the files that will be uploaded and the reporter is given the opportunity to approve the upload before it proceeds.

When the files have been uploaded, the Upload Results screen is displayed. This screen provides confirmation to the reporter that all of the selected files have been properly uploaded to the archival server.

There are many ways to locate a file after it has been uploaded. When a file is needed, the Search option on the ACORN home page is selected. The Search for Files screen contains a number of index fields that can be used to search for a particular file.

After the reporter has entered the appropriate search criteria and clicked on the Search button, the Search Results screen is displayed.

This is only a small sampling of the ACORN screens and functions.

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