With an estimated 35 percent of state residents lacking a home computer, West Virginia is virtually tied with Mississippi for the lowest ownership rate in the nation,
according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
That is a shame because few states need computers more than West Virginia, which has a sparse population scattered across some of the roughest terrain in the eastern United States.
But slowly, the state is giving people reasons to spend a few hundred bucks on a laptop and go online.
West Virginia University doctors began offering psychiatric services to rural counties online and the state Supreme Court approved a project to place court documents online.
Fourteen of the state's 55 counties will test a centralized electronic filing system — e-filing — that is aimed at giving the public better access to court records while also fixing a problem that may have led to the release of a kidnapping suspect by Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster in March. He quickly returned to jail.
The project will cost $500,000 to $700,000. Most of the money will be spent to convert paper records into electronic records that are digitally scanned online.
People will be able to use keywords to search for the documents they want in a manner similar to Google, Bing or other search engines online.