Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

May 29, 2007

The Paperless Registry

by @ 10:01 am. Filed under Website, Registry Ops, Technology

Will paper soon join the quill pen and the typewriter in obsolescence when it comes to the operation of the registry of deeds? Recent developments certainly make it seem so. In Lowell, this migration began back in November 1994 with the acquisition of the registry’s first scanner. The few thousand pages of digital images of record books that had accumulated by the end of that year has now grown to nearly ten million. With just a handful of exceptions, all documents recorded since 1855 are now freely available on www.lowelldeeds.com and the number of missing or illegible documents is decreasing every day as registry employees discover and remedy such problems. All pre-1855 documents have already been digitalized; the only thing standing between them and a place on our website is our difficulty in finding a competent (and available) computer consultant to devise a program. The same is true for our pre-1976 grantor and grantee indexes. Rather than embark on the hugely expensive task of recreating those indexes on our existing computer system, we have simply scanned our index books, creating a digital image of each page. I envision presenting these electronically exactly as they were presented in paper form – in an alphabetized book that allows the user to peruse prior and following entries in the book, a method most people still prefer to the newer database search method. Internet access to recorded documents and indexes is just part of this equation. Other elements include electronic recording, document scanning at the recording terminal (so that originals are returned to the customer along with the receipt) and WIFI access for those who bring their notebook computers to the registry. But more on these other ideas later.

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