Louisiana scans pages from its history

Louisiana scans pages from its history

The Louisiana State Land Office is working with IT Group Inc. of Baton Rouge, La., to scan more than 3.5 million historical land documents and post them in JPEG format on the Web. Some of the documents date to the 1790s, said Marty Beasley, geographic information systems manager for the State Land Office.

Among the land titles, property tax records and other documents are original land surveys from the early 1800s. Many items are bound in book form. To minimize damage to the centuries-old bindings, workers are using Omniscan scanners from Zeutschel GMBH of T
bingen-Hirschau, Germany. The devices have book “cradles” for scanning bound pages without flattening them against a glass plate.

Within about a year, the old documents will be searchable by names, dates or keywords at www.state.la.us/slo, through FileNet 3.6 image management software from FileNet Corp. of Costa Mesa, Calif.

“These documents are used every day by people in our office,” Beasley said. “They’re handled on a daily basis, and with that comes deterioration. Researchers and attorneys come from all over the state to look at them.” Soon, he said, “they can just call up the documents over the Web.”

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