Computer will streamline deed filing, records research in Lincoln County

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2000

Land deed filing and records research will take a turn for thequicker after the first of the year when a new scanning system isup and running in the Lincoln County Chancery Clerk’s Office.

Clerks have been training this week on the new system thatChancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said will streamline the process offiling land records. Instead of copying a deed and logging it intoa records book, the new system will involve taking a photo image ofa deed and several computer keystrokes.

“Many of the steps done now will not be necessary after thescanning takes place,” Bishop said.

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Bishop said the plan is to implement the system Jan. 2. The hardcopy filing method will remain indefinitely as part of a dualrecord-keeping system.

“We’ll have a dual system until we’re comfortable everything isworking like it should,” Bishop said, estimating the hard copysystem would be phased out by the middle of next year.

New computer software and related hardware is costing around$80,000, Bishop said. It is being financed over a five-yearperiod.

“Long term, it’s going to be worth every dime of it,” Bishopsaid.

Bishop also indicated the new system will pay some short- andlong-term dividends in the area of records storage. To addressrecords storage concerns, he said the county’s options were to addthe new system or add on to courthouse for more records roomspace.

“In the next year or two, we’ll be running out of space,” Bishopsaid.

Bishop said the land deed scanning system is not new and severalarea counties already have it. However, he was proud that LincolnCounty’s system is the most user-friendly, is best for accuraterecords storage and lays the best platform for future accessexpansion.

“What this is doing is laying the groundwork for Internetcapabilities,” Bishop said, envisioning a time when attorneys cando records searches from their offices instead of coming to thecourthouse to look through volumes of land deeds.

Bishop was unsure when that would be. The office’s focus now isgoing back so it can go forward.

“The big challenge for us right now is getting all the documentsscanned so people can do records searches without having to go to abook,” Bishop said.

Bishop said land deeds are indexed back to 1988. That means theyhave all the necessary identifying information, such as grantee,grantor, township and range, but the deeds are not scanned into thecomputer.

The office’s goal is to have land deeds indexed and scanned forthe last 30 years. Bishop said Deputy Clerk Karen Nettles ishandling past records duties while Deputy Clerks Regina Freeman andPat Douglas will be responsible for assisting people who want tofile new land deeds and transactions.

Bishop said there will daily and weekly back up of computerrecords. Periodically, computer records disks will be stored in thecounty safe deposit box, Bishop said.