New York county salvages 1,700 storm-damaged boxes of court records
In August 2011, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene caused massive destruction in Schoharie County, N.Y. Three tractor-trailer loads of county court documents dating back to 1795 were among the casualties.
When the restoration process was completed, many of the records were extremely fragile. Schoharie County faced an enormous challenge digitizing and preserving them for their historical value and to meet regulatory requirements.
With 1,700 boxes of documents ready for scanning, Schoharie County Courts Chief Clerk F. Christian Spies turned to eBizDocs of Albany, N.Y. eBizDocs provides service bureau scanning and document management solutions to clients in financial, healthcare, government and other industries. The firm also sells document scanners from Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak Alaris.
“We knew the Kodak i4200 scanners would be an ideal match for the unique demands of this project,” says Howard Gross, president of eBizDocs. “The gentle transport system is extremely easy on fragile documents, which gave us confidence. About 90 percent of the contents in each box were scanned via the feeder. The flatbed attachment was another plus, as there were so many exception documents.”
The compact size of the scanners makes them desktop friendly, and Kodak Capture Pro Software provides a common, user-friendly interface for all operators. “We are happy with the quality of digitized records and the results,” noted Spies. “In many instances the scanned documents look much better in terms of contrast and legibility than the originals. And with records dating back to the late 1700s, the quality of the originals varies greatly. When you factor in the water damage, receiving PDFs of such consistently high quality is impressive.”
Digitized files have already been entered into county and state database systems. Moving forward, the county now has digital access and greater safeguards in place for historic documents.
The process of scanning of non-bound books was completed in February 2015, while the scanning of bound books is an ongoing process. ebizDocs expects to have the task completed by April 2016.