County’s document scanning effort making progress

The move to digital records for court documents at the Warren County Courthouse is making progress.

Insight Technology is upgrading the county’s existing document imaging system with a $46,500 grant from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC).

Upgrades including server, storage area network and software professional services. Insight Technology installed the hardware at no cost to the county, Information Technology Director Bill Gallagher of Insight Technology said.

“Specifically, there is a lot of paper that routes through the various court departments. These are currently ‘archived’ eventually, but there is a push by the state to be more progressive and scan documents in a more concurrent manner. As documents enter the system, they should be readily available to all departments of the court. Concurrent access and availability is something that can enhance efficiencies for the departments,” Gallagher said in an email.

The focus is on court documents for the 37th Judicial District.

Departments in the court system worked mostly in a paper environment, he said, and when cases were closed they would archive documents for a permanent record. “AOPC would like to see a more progressive move towards less paper handling,” he said.

The project is currently limited to the court departments and was the reason for the funding from AOPC. Once the project is well underway, Gallagher said there are other departments he’s interested in working with.

So far, 1,146,562 images have been processed into the new system, he said. That includes 817,314 images that were scanned over the last 10 years by Adult Probation and Domestic Relations into the older system that have been converted and transferred into the new system, and 329,249 images or pages since May.

“So, pragmatically without touching a single piece of paper we produced 329,249 additional court document images onto the system without touching a single piece of paper,” Gallagher said.

The prothonotary and clerk of courts office uses digitized records. However, the documents are stored offline on disks. Most of the 37th District’s operations are in the same building, so it is a short walk to ask for records. However, Forest County is also part of the district.

Those documents will be imported into the online system.

Adult Probation shares its document imaging system with Domestic Relations, but the number of licenses and age and size of the server it runs on mean other departments don’t have access to the system and it is incapable of handling a large load of new data.

Gallagher said Insight Technology wrote the funding request and received no administrative fees in the process or compensation for installing the server, storage area network and the conversion of the documents.