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Document Search

Document Search

Use this tool below to search your town’s minutes, ordinances and other documents from any device, computers, tablets and smartphones. Simply select your town from the dropbox below and enter your search. A new window will open with the results. Toggle back to this window to enter a new search term.

Tips & Tricks

How does this tool work?

The Document Search tool works by conducting a search of publicly available documents on a town’s website. It does this by using the search function of Google. It restricts the search to only one website and only one file type. In this case, by searching only the town’s website and only for .PDF files.

This allows for a very quick and very thorough search of the text of uploaded minutes/other documents but there are some drawbacks.

1.) It is reliant on the quality of the uploaded minutes and the presence of uploaded minutes. If a town has not uploaded a document, it cannot be searched. Towns may have only just recently started making their documents publicly available. If a town does not take complete or descriptive minutes, the usefulness of searching them will be diminished.

2.) If a town’s website is structured in such a way that the minutes are not accessible by Google or in a unique format other than PDF, they will not be searchable. I am working on including the ability to search other file formats as well. If your town is not included in the list or if a search of your town does not produce any or expected results, please email me at community@opencouncil.org to see if there is a solution.

How can I search effectively?

Because the search query is sent to Google, there are some simple tricks one can use to get better mileage out of their searching efforts.

Whenever you are searching for a topic, always think of multiple ways to search for the information you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for information on your town’s water & sewer department, search for both “Water & Sewer” and people that are involved and might have been quoted in related minutes or even dates that you feel the meeting may have taken place. Searching for words related to the topic you are looking for may also produce helpful results.