ACORN (Archive COurt Reporter Notes) was first developed for the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1998. ACORN allows the reporters to log on to a secure web site and upload copies of their note files, dictionaries, or even final transcripts 24×7.
ACORN is a cloud-based service, so no new hardware or software is needed.
Since being introduced in 1998, ACORN has grown to be the most widely-used court reporter note archival service available. Today, in California alone, more than 1,000 court reporters use ACORN on a daily basis.
The California Administrative Office of the Courts has recognized ACORN as a valuable service which brings direct benefits and cost savings to the courts. On the AOC web page, it says:
Requests no longer take days to complete and the court reporter supervisors are able to pull up notes quickly if the reporter is unavailable. In addition, the integrity of the notes is preserved, storage cost is reduced or eliminated for the courts, and the court staff can redirect their attention to assisting the public and the judicial bench in an efficient manner.
The primary goal of ACORN is the preservation of court records. Paper note files do get lost. Paper records do deteriorate. Reporters do retire, change jobs, or pass away. ACORN ensures that the records are always available when requested by a judge.
ACORN is available on a monthly subscription basis, with the monthly service fee based on the number of reporters that will be using the service.
Our court reporters find ACORN to be a very easy to understand. The reduction in time to mark paper notes and retrieve them, as well as the reduction in the amount of floor space required make ACORN a Records Manager’s dream come true. Terri Edwards, CSR, CMSR, Orange County Superior Court, Records Manager
ACORN is very easy to use. Reporters take their notes during court sessions, just as they always have done. At some point, they can log on to a secure ACORN web server set up for their court. They can then upload or download notes as needed.
Notes can be uploaded to ACORN from virtually any device that is recognized by Windows or Mac. These include floppy disks, thumb drives, CDs, SD cards, or USB drives. As long as the operating system can see the note files, they can be uploaded to ACORN.
All notes for each reporter are stored in that reporter’s own directory. Notes are never co-mingled. Reporters only have access to their own directory. In most cases, the ACORN system administrator at the Court will have authorization to access all files in all directories.
There are a variety of key index fields that can be included with the note file, to make finding a particular note file easier in the future. There are flags for Criminal, Civil, or Juvenile cases, as well as flags for Death Penalty, LWOP, and sealed records.
Each quarter, a copy of all notes uploaded during the previous quarter is created and delivered back to the Court. This ensures that the Court always has a complete backup copy, to be used in the event that a reporter is no longer available.
ACORN does not open, read, or test any of the note files. It just makes an exact copy of the file being uploaded. ACORN will accept raw note files, dictionaries, and even final transcripts. Audio files can be uploaded as well, if the Court so chooses.
Sample ACORN Screens:
This short video will explain how ACORN works and show what the screens look like.