Baines marks completion of scanning county deed books – The Polk Fish Wrap

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Updated: October 27, 2021 @ 4:34 am
Polk County Superior Court Clerk Stacie Baines flips through one of the newly-restored deed books in the records archives of the county courthouse that dates back to 1897. Kofile Technologies was contracted to take all of the county’s deed books and scan them for easier access.
A page in a newly-restored Polk County deed book shows the date of May 1897.
Another result of the restoration and scanning of some of the oldest deed books in the Polk County records archives was new hardbound editions with covers bearing the county seal and the name and title of superior court clerk Stacie Baines.

Polk County Superior Court Clerk Stacie Baines flips through one of the newly-restored deed books in the records archives of the county courthouse that dates back to 1897. Kofile Technologies was contracted to take all of the county’s deed books and scan them for easier access.
A page in a newly-restored Polk County deed book shows the date of May 1897.
Another result of the restoration and scanning of some of the oldest deed books in the Polk County records archives was new hardbound editions with covers bearing the county seal and the name and title of superior court clerk Stacie Baines.
There was a moment of celebration last week in the Polk County Superior Court Clerk’s office as a bit of the county’s history returned with a fresh look and new purpose.
County court clerk Stacie Baines was delivered the last of the county’s deed index books on Thursday by contractor Kofile Technologies after they had not only been scanned in order to be accessible online, but also restored, allowing the physical books to be preserved for years to come.
“This has been a long time coming for Polk County, and I’m really, really, really happy about it,” Baines said. “These are books from the late 1800s forward. So now, all of our deed books are digitized and able to be accessed on a computer in the office when somebody comes in here to look them up.”
The oldest book that had to be restored by the company dated back to 1897, however, Baines said there were some older books that were able to be scanned without having to go through any repairs.
“This is one more piece of Polk County history that we are saving. Deed records are permanent records. And if these disappear then our history disappears,” Baines said.
The process to digitize the books began last year when Baines approached the county board of commissioners to take part of the C.A.R.E.S. Act money they received from the federal government and scan all of the records.
Once she got approval, the books were picked up by Kofile and taken to their facility where the company scanned the books that were in good condition. Some of them, however, required an extra touch.
“Eight of the books were in such bad shape they were literally in pieces,” Baines said, adding that Kofile used a process to take all of the acid out of the pages and then piece them back together before locking them in a plastic preservation cover.
They were then inserted into new hard-bound books with the county’s seal on the cover as well as Baines’ name and title.
The oldest of the ones that went through the restoration process dates back to 1897. The company also restored a county land lot book that Baines said had pages that were in one-inch-sized pieces.
It’s been a year since the first deed books were picked up, and now the public can come to the clerk’s office in the county courthouse and go on a computer to look up deed information. Baines said she hopes to have all of the records uploaded on Kofile’s website in the next few months so they can be accessed by anybody online.
“Instead of coming up here and going through book after book after book they will be able to go online, type it in and pull it right up. So that will save a lot of time and a lot of money,” Baines said.
The cost of the project, paid for by part of Polk County’s allocation of the C.A.R.E.S. Act fund, came to $158,153.05.
Baines said she is now looking to have all of the county plats scanned and available the same way. Currently, only plats recorded from 2004 forward are accessible online.

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