Digitizing our records

Union County has decided to digitally archive and preserve county land records.

The Board of Supervisors approved a request by Chancery Clerk Annette Hickey to digitize the documents that are currently in large bound books in the office.
“The archiving will go back 30 years,” she said. “The books will be converted to digital images by the Windward Group out of Louisiana.”
The change will ensure the long-lasting quality of the documents and prevent additional damage to the books from people looking through them, she said.
The cost of the project is estimated at $11,844 and will be paid from the chancery clerk’s budget.
Local real estate attorney John Haynes IV said the decision will make it easier to check titles and also guard against losing records due to a fire. Records already were destroyed in a fire during the late 1800s, he said.
“With the development we will have coming to the county because of Toyota, this is an important move,” he said.
Yet to be decided is whether the public will be able to access the records from places other than the clerk’s office, and whether a few will be charged.
We are in favor of making sure that public records are available to look at without charge at the clerk’s office, even if they are on computer.
If the county incurs expense for providing the service off-premises, we think a modest fee might be in order.
In any case, digitizing the records is the right thing to do, and is continuing evidence of the progressive thinking on the part of Ms Hickey in operating the chancery clerk’s office.