It’s been a few years in the making, but a small town court in Herkimer County, NY has entered the digital age with a paperless document management system for its court records.
Countless hours of administrative paper-shuffling are eliminated. The problem of sharing documents requested by federal agencies, and even among their own staff, is solved. And the 300 square foot room that housed their records will again enjoy the luxury of elbow room. While the project is only slated to digitize about fifteen boxes initially, there are dozens more waiting.
There were recommendations to move the documents to microfilm, a medium which does boast longevity and versatility. A properly stored roll of microfilm can last upwards of 500 years, and no matter how technology changes, in a pinch you could always view microfilm with nothing more than a magnifying glass.
These qualities have driven archivists to opt for film for over 150 years, but even in a warehouse of canisters of rolls, you still need to locate them. While viewing is rather simple, retrieval is still a major stumbling block.
And even within the discussion of longevity, most documents carry a retention period of five to ten years. That kind of makes the shelf-life of microfilm, not to mention the overhead involved in generating and storing it, overkill.
The break came this year when the Justice Court Assistance Program (JCAP) grant that the court had been applying for came through. Since 1999, JCAP has been awarding grants of up to $30,000 to town and village courts for purposes ranging from office and security equipment to furniture to courtroom renovations. Many courts in the area have utilized this grant to update their records and put them in a digital format.
Aside from the service of having the boxes scanned, the grant also covered installation of eBizDocs’ electronic document management solution, a record retrieval, viewing, and record tracking software system. It also provided for in-house equipment such as document scanners to handle day-forward paper.
Once the first step is taken to digitize your documents and vital records, it’s hard to justify not implementing a complementary process for scanning new documents as they are generated.
If you are interested in back-file document scanning or installing a solution to go paperless, please don’t hesitate to call us.