We recorded our 300th electronically submitted document earlier this week. Electronic recording is still being done on a test basis, but the system seems to work quite well. There are two big issues that must be addressed before this goes into full-scale use in this registry, at least. The first issue is the process of doing an up to the minute run down electronically from a remote location. With the registry website being continuously updated with new recordings, that addresses a big part of that problem. Unfortunately, being able to do “a big part” of your pre-recording rundown really is inadequate for the ordinary, prudent conveyancer. Our recording system has a “look-back” feature that bridges the gap between when you do your final run down and when the document is actually on record. Anytime that a name we enter in the computer has been entered within the preceding hour, a popup box alerts us that the name was recently entered, giving the book and page number of the document where it was located. When the customer is standing across the recording counter, it is easy for the registry clerk to ask “Do you know about this other document? Do you want me to proceed?” The customer can respond immediately. With electronic recording, however, the customer is at some remote location with no effective means of instantaneous communications. We’re not in a position to decide when to proceed or to reject the transaction, so we’re left with an all or nothing approach. Because the popup box appears most often because of bank or mortgage company names, it’s usually innocuous and we’re instructed to proceed. But every so often, it might be an attachment or a mechanic’s lien and the new documents are pulled back. My conclusion is that until we get some kind of gap insurance here in Massachusetts, electronic recording will serve primarily as a substitute for recording documents by mail. This posting has gotten long enough, so tomorrow we’ll continue with more on electronic recording.