Finding public databases
July 22, 2021 4:17 PM   Subscribe

A friend has asked me to research her, and so I am looking for public databases that are not in the vein of KnowX or USSearch or PeekYou. But I am also not talking about password protected databases such as the DMV or searching for a credit report.

I am looking for sites like, for example, Google Scholar, that showed in a comprehensive way, work she had done but forgotten about. The unclaimed funds website showed she had money sitting in Oklahoma and Maryland. Her Amazon and Goodreads reading list, which she hadn't used in years, revealed interests she didn't realize were public. And social media searches turned up accounts she didn't remember that were full of followers and links to videos and pictures she will now be taking down. So, in short, I am looking for websites and databases like those (and possibly including whatever I can find on Tor's .onion sites), that may be very narrowly focused and totally public but excellent in how they collect what they specialize in.
posted by CollectiveMind to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Try Maltego. They do have a free version.
posted by jacobean at 4:24 PM on July 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but I've been quite happy with the (paid) service provided by DeleteMe, which tries to remove you from as many public databases as possible. Here is a review from PC Mag.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:28 PM on July 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Are you already aware of the civil and criminal legal records for the relevant states? The detail varies state to state, but can show addresses, birth dates, and [of course] violations or court proceedings.

County recorders should be checked - these aren't always online and aren't always free.

Voter registration records are available in many states. These can be used to find several previous addresses as well as cohabitants.

I get a lot of value from searching Dun and Bradstreet, but I background scores of people a year.

Feel free to be in touch to discuss tactics. I've been doing this sort of work for about 25 years.
posted by Glomar response at 6:13 PM on July 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

The best resource I know is a public list that was put together by Jennifer McMahan, a librarian at the US DOJ. She keeps it regularly updated, but the latest version I found was from 2019.
posted by neurodoc at 6:39 PM on July 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

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