Within a few months archived historic records maintained by Hopkins County Clerk’s Office are expected to be accessible online. County Clerk Tracy Smith was given the go-ahead this week to contract with Vista Solutions Group for the project, and District Clerk Cheryl Fulcher said she too is considering the option so that older records dating back to the 1800s in her office could potentially be made available online as well.
“When we moved out of the Courthouse back in 2000, the Court had all of our back stuff scanned. We’ve got it on Laserfiche, but the only way to access Laserfiche is in our office. So this company can convert Laserfiche and everything we’ve got on it to do our website, so people can access it through our website, so more online records for them,” Smith explained at the Nov. 1, 2021, Commissioners Court meeting.
Smith said she has an import project that has just been completed. Instead of paying extra for NetData to import the documents, Vista Solutions Group said they would import those files as well.
Which historic records are uploaded will be at the discretion of the county, and may include but is not limited to real estate, criminal, civil, probate and all of the old historic records.
Smith said her office has in her records management fund the money needed to cover the cost of the records conversion and online indexing service. The initial cost for the County Clerk’s Office will be about $23,000, then would cost about $5,000 annually after that.
Smith said it’s her understanding that very soon after the contract was signed, the company was slated to begin working on the conversion and uploading process for the County Clerk’s Office. She anticipates the process taking about a month, maybe longer, due to the large volume of records.
District Clerk Cheryl Fulcher, who was also in the courtroom during Monday’s meeting, noted that she too had contacted last week and viewed an online demonstration of the service offered for online records and was impressed with what she saw.
“They did confirm that they could convert the old 1800 records in my office also and get it online, just like she said. They offered redactions and all kinds of features. I was very impressed with them. They’ve already given me a quote,” Fulcher said.
She said she plans to speak with Smith and get a few more questions answered about the service before she is ready to consider presenting a request to the Commissioners Court to contract with Vista Solutions Group for record conversion and uploading to the website.
The annual cost is one of the things Fulcher plans to take into account when considering whether to pursue that option for her office.
Smith noted that the $5,000 fee covers any system or program updates. She can’t recall the last time there’s been an update for Laserfiche.
Fulcher said she plans to seek and reach out to other county and district offices that may be using the company’s services as part of her research into the option.