Indexing Rules for Public Record at the County Clerk’s Office

register of deeds signPart of the service offerings of SRIIA Technologies includes converting microfilm and paper based media into digital media. For the Clerk/Recorder’s office, this includes digitizing public records that may be decades old.

For conversion projects with the goal of accessing legacy records within the County’s electronic recording system, it is necessary to group the pages into instruments and then index these records for retrieval.

To be able to search for and access these legacy records in a same or similar process as their existing records, they must be properly indexed.

One step of this process is to work with the Clerk/Recorder to confirm the County’s indexing rules. It is critical to have documented indexing rules in hand for the purposes of training, quality evaluation and remediation.

And to this day, I still  encounter county offices that do not have standardized indexing rules. For example; When indexing a Grantee/Grantor that is a wife – would you include her full middle name or just abbreviate? Now – what if that middle name happened to be her maiden name – would you abbreviate then? Chances are your decision would be not to abbreviate a middle name that is a maiden name. But, how would your deputy clerks and indexers know to interoperate this rule?

And it goes on from there – I suggest for any Recorder, Register of Deeds, Clerk, etc… to sit down with your office staff and come up with a complete set of rules to address any and all indexing standards and anticipated issues. Once this is done, training new staff becomes much more quick and effective. And, a standardized index makes research far easier.

Many of the Public Recording software products offered today have tools built in that help standarized Official Public Records indexing such as establish rules for abbreviations, fixed libraries for sub-divisions, townships, street names, lots, blocks, etc… and masks to ensure that rules for alpha-numeric fields are adhered to.

It is very important to acquire a good Recording system for your Public Records and etablish rules for indexing. With this, you will be serving your constituents with a legacy of accurate records management.

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