Scanning, digitization project underway in Monroe County recorder’s office

A crew from US Imaging has set up a digital scanning operation in the Monroe County recorder’s office.

Their three-week mission, onsite at the county courthouse, is to scan the county’s whole collection of older deeds, back to 1817, as well as miscellaneous records. The images will then be digitized, which will make them searchable and more easily available.

The $164,000 contract with US Imaging for the scanning and digitizing work was approved by county commissioners on March 9.  The company is based in Saginaw, Michigan.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Monroe County commissioners, county recorder Eric Schmitz appeared at the public podium in the Nat U. Hill Room of the county courthouse to give them a status update.

In connection with the scanning project, he’d spent part of his morning lugging large books around, Schmitz told commissioners. “I’ve got a lot more books to move,” Schmitz said.

After his turn at the podium, Schmitz showed The B Square where the three-person crew from US Imaging had set up their scanning devices. Two were flatbed devices that required manually turning pages in books measuring a couple of feet on a side. A third scanning device was being fed individual sheets of paper from a document tray.

The point of having the crew do the work onsite at the courthouse is to avoid removing the records from the premises. The onsite work is expected to take about three weeks. The processing of the images is estimated to take up to a year.

In March, when Schmitz described the scanning and digitization project to county commissioners, he told them the current project does not include mortgages. “We want to start with the deeds—those are the most important,” Schmitz said.

After the onsite scanning work is done, US Imaging will start putting the images into a multi-page document format that can be imported into the recorder’s office system, Schmitz told commissioners in March.

This week’s meeting of the county commissioners came the day after primary elections. County recorder is an elected position, and is one of the offices that is term-limited under Indiana’s state constitution. The exact wording is not “more than eight years in any period of twelve years.”

A Democrat, Schmitz is serving the final year of his second four-year term. In this week’s Democratic Party primary, Amy Swain prevailed over Ashley Cranor by a half percentage point. Swain will face Republican Paul White in the November general election.