Suffolk records go paperless

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Title examiners and researchers will no longer have to wait for Suffolk Circuit Court to open or thumb through decrepit, 100-year-old books to get their jobs done.

On Wednesday, the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office unveiled its new land record system after a year of working with Logan Systems Inc.

Logan Systems Inc. is a land record technology provider based in Greensboro, N.C. For the last year, the company has been scanning and enhancing images of old land records for the last year to provide Suffolk with a paperless experience.

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Logan Systems Inc. services roughly 25 localities in the Commonwealth, including Isle of Wight, Surry and Sussex counties.

“It’s a real time saver,” said Circuit Court Clerk Randy Carter. “Before, when you used to use the online server, you could only look from 1974 and forward. Now you can work remotely from your desk at home or at your job.”

The clerk’s office on Wednesday held a demonstration with the president of Logan Systems Inc., Craig Sanders, for title examiners and city officials to unveil the system, and they will hold another demonstration at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Carter was pleased to see the finished product after waiting for years to integrate this new system.

“Today is Christmas,” Carter said. “We’ve been waiting years and years, and now it’s a reality. I hope they find it to be a benefit.”

Even though they had to wait to get the project started and then wait a year for it to be finished, the lengthy wait allowed Suffolk to have a higher quality product at the end.

“While Suffolk was waiting, the technology was improving. They have a better quality now than if they did this five to 10 years ago,” Sanders said.

Logan Systems Inc. spent the last year going through and scanning old books and indexes of deeds, plats, wills, bonds, highway maps and other documents so that they can be easily accessed via the Clerk’s subscription service.

This was accomplished using large non-contact scanners due to the size and age of the record books. These types of scanners use light and math to generate an image of the proper dimensions.

While the majority of the information stored in the Circuit Court is online, only information related to title services can be found on the server when away from the court.

Part of the allure to this new system was not just having all of these images online. This new system also features improved capabilities and functionalities for those utilizing it.

Traditionally, title examiners or researchers would look in an index first to find the book and page number of that specific information. This meant sometimes lugging around large books in the Clerk’s office, but now things are as simple as zooming in on an image and typing in the book and page number.

Sanders’ company not only scanned the images and upgraded software, but the company also enhanced the images to make the online experience even easier.

While this service benefits people in the real estate and title communities, this service also ensures that Suffolk’s information is safe from disasters like the fires that wiped out a majority of Suffolk’s old records, meaning the records don’t go back any farther than 1866.

“These books in the office are one of a kind, and now they have a disaster recovery copy,” said Sanders. “Suffolk is much better protected now.”