The Allen County Recorder’s Office has completed the first phase of development of a new system designed to digitally preserve aging records and to make those documents more readily accessible to the public.
The system, called ePlat, was demonstrated during an event on Thursday, February 17, 2005. The demonstration took place in the Omni Room, on the second floor of the City-County Building.
The ePlat system, built by Global Systems, Inc., has several purposes, including the digital preservation of plats, land surveys and other records. The Recorder’s Office holds thousands of paper records dating back as far as 1829. As those records age and become brittle, regular handling can become a serious threat to their existence.
Since the spring of 2004, the Recorder’s Office and Global Systems have scanned 7,253 individual records. ePlat contains 10,450 images of those records. The scans are high-resolution (approximately 20 megabytes each), and allow for data retrieval at least as good as the originals. Users can retrieve necessary information from a computer screen, or make large-and small-format prints from high-resolution plotters.
One ePlat station is already in use in the Recorder’s Office, with plans for an initial deployment of three stations. In addition to digitally preserving the records, the project has also resulted in the creation of a highly accurate records index, making searches easier.
Pat Crick, Allen County Recorder, said that eventually the ePlat system will allow more fragile original records to be removed from circulation and preserved. The records are valuable not only to businesses, but also to historians, genealogists and neighborhood associations as well.
The project was paid for through the Recorder’s Perpetuation Fund, generated by fees paid to record documents in the office.
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