Following in the footsteps of the Circuit Clerk's Office in Lincoln County, Miss., and the County Clerk of Court's Office in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa – to name but a couple – the Ohio County Circuit Clerk's Office in West Virginia is about to embark on a document imaging project that will result in it going completely paperless by this time next year, The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register reported.
For the past year, the office's employees have been acting as their own document conversion service, scanning and uploading new records that come in while also attempting to make headway on ploughing through the years of paper files that need to be digitized.
"It's a massive undertaking, but I'm very happy and proud to oversee all of this and be a part of this major project," Circuit Clerk Brenda Miller told the news source. "A circuit clerk's office is the record keeper for a county. I think having records that are easily accessible to the public is the key factor to providing quality service."
Digitizing the annals of history while maintaining modern protections
For Ohio County, the journey toward paperlessness affects a wide range of records, from motions filed electronically by attorneys in real time to case files that have existed since the 1800s – in some cases, longer than the state of West Virginia itself, the media outlet pointed out. That said, only documentation authorized to be accessed by the public will be made available through the electronic portal. Sensitive records sealed by judges, such as those pertaining to cases involving juveniles, will be kept private as before.
In terms of the practicalities of the undertaking, Miller ballparked the cost of the initiative at approximately $250,000, including hardware, software and training – a tab that will be picked up by the Supreme Court.
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