Boone County to digitize old paper records
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Recorder of Deeds plans to digitize paper records and make them more accessible to the public.
The project will make old paper records searchable online.
Nora Dietzel, the county recorder, said doing the project now would help preserve the already deteriorating records.
“We have real estate and land records that have not been scanned digitally,” Dietzel said. “This first project is just the index books, which would allow people to do the search online and then to get the actual image of the document they would have to request that from us."
In 2001, the recorder’s office began digitalizing items by manually photo copying the images but the new project will begin with the scanning of more than 75 index books, a list of buyers and sellers in alphabetical order, in the county’s possession.
The Recorder of Deeds is an elected county government position, which handles all of the county’s records dating to 1821 including mortgages, subdivision covenants, deeds and marriage records.
“I’ll probably spend more than an hour here looking for records because I’m searching for something from the 1900s,” Mary Wozny, Boone County resident said. “So if it’s going to be digitized it’s going to be wonderful because I won't have to stand here and look through all of these records.”
Dietzel plans bring in an outside company to work on digitizing the books, which she estimates will cost between $25,000 and $40,000. She said this is the most effective option since her staff would need proper training on how to digitize the records.
“I’m doing this in steps so that I can spread the cost out over several years,” Dietzel said.
She said would feel comfortable spending that amount each year until every document is scanned.
“It’s going to take several years to get everything online but that’s the best way that I can do it without completely depleting my preservation fund,” Dietzel said.
The ultimate goal of the project is to preserve the records in case of an emergency.
“The main goal is to limit the damage done to the records and to get them scanned while they’re in the best possible condition,” Dietzel said. “The longer I wait to do this the worse the copy will be. This is also a back up tool in the case of an emergency because we can pull up those electronic images from a server we set up somewhere else if our location gets damaged.”