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Digitizing records an improvement

A major undertaking over at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office promises to further move the way the office does business into the 21st century.

The office recently started a project to digitize all of the court’s records dating back to 1866. The project is estimated to take more than a year.

Clerk Randy Carter said the old books in which land records and other such needs are kept are tedious. “There’s a better way of doing it,” he told a News-Herald reporter this week.

Once the project is complete, folks will be able to access the records online, saving time and being helpful to title examiners and researchers, as well as land owners who just need the records.

“We are a customer service organization,” Carter said. “It’s our job to make it more customer friendly.”

A company has been hired to take care of the project, which is estimated to cost between $216,000 and $226,000. Most of the funds are coming from court fees charged to folks filing civil actions and land records, so the cost is being covered mostly by those who use the system the most but benefiting all of the city’s taxpayers.

Having the records digitized will also be helpful in the case of some unforeseen disaster. Local records only go back to 1866, because two fires destroyed records prior to that year. The lack of records from that time period underscores the need to have a digital archive of these records.

This is an important project, and we are glad it’s being funded largely without the use of taxpayer dollars.