Disadvantages Of Physical Land Records And The Path To Digitization

Land records are the earliest, most extensive and comprehensive paper records held at all government levels, including at the state, municipal and county levels. These records may include various documents such as land ownership files, sale deeds, maps, land survey reports, and mineral and water rights. 

Land records at federal, state, and county government levels are maintained by county clerks, assessors, recorders and registrars of deeds. 

Improper maintenance or loss of land records leads to litigations and even scams. In fact, the issue of land ownership is one of the leading causes of property disputes.

Most historical land records are in paper or microfilm formats—the information storage formats used in the last few decades. But paper is prone to wear and tear and aging-related damage when stored over a long time. 

Let's look at some disadvantages of physical land records.


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Disadvantages of holding physical land records

  • County clerks and registrars are busy officers! Manually searching out a specific document from old archives of microfilm or paper records from storage areas is not feasible.
  • Since land records have to be maintained for long periods, the volume of physical records keeps increasing, requiring a regular increase in storage space and other resources.
  • Security threats to paper documents are ever-present. Documents can be maliciously copied by authorized personnel or accidentally misplaced.
  • Sharing paper documents with distributed teams or the general public is cumbersome.
  • Retrieving physical documents from archives or long-term storage areas is time-consuming and causes delays in processing.
  • Keeping paper documents safe from physical damage due to rodents, weather, and natural disasters is difficult and expensive.

The importance of digitization of land records

Document scanning services make physical land records accessible by converting them into electronic format and adding them to a searchable database.

County and state agencies, assessors, property developers and citizens all benefit from the digitization of land records:

  • Easy and faster access to assessors, surveyors or title ownership researchers
  • Simultaneous access by multiple users from any location or device
  • Save physical storage space and other associated paper, printing and resource costs
  • Enhanced backup, recovery and records safety
  • Prevent unauthorized access with audit trails and access controls
  • No risk of deterioration of long-term storage or archives
  • Mitigate risks from natural causes and decay of microfilm

Digitization of land records improves the transparency in land records management. It makes it easy to maintain and update documents such as maps, land surveys, and property registration. It can also aid online approvals of development plans and occupancy certificates. In addition, it assists assessors and researchers in determining ownership status and eases business processes in the realty sector, as developers and buyers can quickly check the authenticity of the land or property if they are available in a searchable online database.


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DRS Imaging: Providing a structured path for digitization of land records

It's best to use the services of a professional document scanning company like DRS Imaging for large-volume scanning projects. DRS has successfully completed several large-volume and complex scanning projects for government agencies, so you can trust us to use the highest level of security when it comes to scanning and document handling procedures.

We follow a step-by-step, structured path to the digitization of land records:

Scanning paper and microfilmed documents

DRS can convert any document to a digital file, including standard paper files, large format drawings, microfilm, photographs, microfiche or mixed digital media. We can execute your scanning project at our state-of-the-art, certified SOC facilities located across the United States. We can handle large-volume document conversion projects for government agencies and private enterprises. If you prefer to have the scanning executed within your premises, we offer onsite scanning services. We send our state-of-the-art scanning equipment and trained staff to your office location, so your documents don't leave your premises. If you have your own scanners, we can also provide project management and staff to complete your job.

Image to text conversion

We use advanced OCR, ICR or Intelligent Character Recognition to make information from scanned documents machine-readable and searchable. Our data capture solutions are an extremely cost-effective way to eliminate manual data entry and automatically extract data from hand-filled forms, applications, scanned images and hand-written records. 

Document indexing and document management

Once we scan physical documents, we can save them in any digital format you require, including PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and more. We add metadata to the digitized files so they can be indexed and categorized by keywords or phrases. The digital records are then routed into a document management system such as Mercury to create a centralized, searchable document repository with stringent access control and advanced data security features. Learn more about how Mercury enhances collaboration, productivity, and compliance. 

We have worked with multiple government organizations, providing them with a structured plan to transform their physical archives into digital repositories. We can scan any land records, whether in paper or microfilm formats, no matter the size, and apply classification to each to ensure you can safely and easily access those documents via a document management system. 

Talk to DRS for expertise in digitally transforming large volumes of archived land records. Our bulk scanning services for county and state-level government bodies are efficient, accurate and affordable.