There are several different types of court records that are publicly available upon request for legal research or just personal curiosity. The most common public records that are kept in courthouses are case records, land records, and criminal records. Generally the court will make them available as part of the public record, though accessibility may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Cases of all kinds are searchable court records. Most jurisdictions make every case available, including criminal, civil, bankruptcy, and even simple traffic violations. Depending on the nature of the document, the court records will typically detail the name, address, and date of birth of the party involved. Further, it will detail how the case progressed, with all the filings made by any of the parties shown on the case log. If it is a criminal or civil trial, then very often the written opinion of the presiding judge will also be made available.
Public land records are also commonly sought after court records for a variety of reasons. Because the land records detail every conveyance of the land that has been made, listing each and every previous owner, they are often researched by subsequent purchasers of land in order to determine that the land conveyance they are making will be valid. Additionally, public land records will show any liens and easements that formerly existed and currently exist on the property. Lastly, land records include the deed, which gives detailed information as to the actual defined boundaries of the tract of land in question.
The third type of court record that is generally public record are people's criminal records. Often, employers will require a background check into the criminal record of an applicant because of the nature of the job. They will seek out public court records in order to do so. Most jurisdictions have statutes protecting people's privacy, however, and require their authorization in order to give access to such information.
Because they are generally entirely public record, land records and documents detailing court proceedings are almost always accessible to anyone who seeks them out. Many jurisdictions make this information available online, though because modernization of court records is an expensive task, many courthouses require that anyone seeking to browse any such records must do so in person. If the court has not done so themselves, private organizations sometimes compile the records in an online database and charge a small fee to gain access.