How a Countywide Project Tackled over 14 Million Paper Records and Entered the 21st Century
Monroe County, PA was founded in 1836, is the home of the Pocono Mountains and is a mere 76 miles from New York City. Like all local governments, Monroe County is required to keep detailed records of everything from land grants and property deeds to court filings and tax data. These documents provide vital information and are an indispensable resource for both government employees and constituents.
Simple enough at first, but as time marches forward Monroe County has grown along with its population and court cases, which means that the number of records that need to be preserved has grown EXPONENTIALLY. The County had thousands of boxes of files overflowing in multiple physical storage locations across six different buildings.
This made retrieval of documents an additional challenge and required going to an off-site location, looking down long rows of files stored on shelves, and sifting through boxes to locate the desired file.
Some of these paper artifacts are 100 years old. Over time, paper experiences deterioration that occurs from usage, sunlight, oxidation, mold and storage. Even ink was not engineered to last 100 years. Fast forward to present times where counties across the country are facing insufficient storage and the cost of archiving paper records is a growing issue coupled with the need for immediate anywhere access.
Ultimately, Monroe County’s challenge was to efficiently preserve records for long-term use, being able to easily access records while reducing storage requirements, provide a disaster recovery plan while staying on budget.
Learn the steps taken to tackle over 14 million paper documents and create a digital archive for the county.
Monroe County, Pennsylvania
As America races towards its 250th birthday, there are numerous challenges to preserving records from the very beginning of our nation. One of the main challenges is deterioration that occurs over time from usage, sunlight, oxidation, mold and improper storage. Many early records are handwritten, requiring transcription services. Insufficient storage and the cost of archiving paper records is another growing issue. Cities and counties across the country are taking action to preserve their history.
Over the last 40 years, Avenu’s Digital Processing Services team has partnered with jurisdictions to preserve records (historic, governance, vital, land, financial, and administrative) and make them available for generations to come. Billions of documents and images have been digitized and transcribed by our experts, securing them from wear and tear, accidents, and natural disasters, while enabling the public to easily search and access them.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, we wanted to look at a previous preservation project involving a historic record with two past presidents. Let us set the stage with a brief history lesson.
For nearly 200 years, John Adams (2nd President) and John Quincy Adams (6th President) were the only father-son pair to serve as Presidents. In 1800, John Adams lost his presidential reelection campaign to Thomas Jefferson, and in 1802, John Quincy Adams was elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. In 1803, during the first year of John Quincy Adam’s term in the U.S. Senate, John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams, sold over 320 acres to their son.
Avenu partnered with Norfolk County, MA to transcribe and digitize 871 books. Included in this project was the four-page deed of sale for this property. The deed details thirteen different lots owned by John Adams that were purchased for $12,812. It provides a detailed account of how John Adams acquired different lots, structures on the property, various uses of the land, geographic boundaries, and the names of individuals who owned neighboring property.
All of this property he attests “are free of all encumbrances… that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said John Quincy Adams, & that I will warrant and defend the same to the said John Quincy Adams and his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.”
The document is also noteworthy because both John and Abigail Adams signed and sealed the document as the property transferred included property from Abigail’s dowry. This deed along with numerous historic documents from Norfolk County can be viewed online.
Avenu takes great pride in using our technology and experienced team to preserve records for future generations. Each document preserved provides a detailed account of the individuals, land, and events that occurred throughout the history of our nation.
Avenu also digitized Plymouth County, Massacheusetts’ historical records in advance of the 400 anniversary of Plymouth Colony.
Anyone with responsibility for managing vital, land, historic and other public records in local government knows the challenges. Processing a growing volume of new documents and making the best use of older ones takes technology, expertise and storage space.
Plymouth County, Massachusetts is one jurisdiction that has figured out the right balance between needs and resources. Gain insight into ways the Plymouth:
– Preserved deteriorating, historic records from the founding of the first colony
– Improved searchability, discoverability and document access
– Accommodated statutory requirements for records management
– Reduced archiving space needs, risk from disasters, and costs
Avenu’s Digital Processing Services include the digitization of an unlimited number of documents in any format, size, and condition.
We then create a secure digital archive that seamlessly integrates with your current systems and workflows, keeping all your documents up-to-date for public and professional use. Increase efficiency across legal proceedings, government decisions, and more with blazing-fast, easy -to-navigate access to your entire archive of digitized documents.