Dubuque County office to digitize their documents

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DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Almost everything today is digital, but some county and city offices are still living in the paper file age.

Filing cabinets fill the Dubuque County Zoning Office on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. (Allison Wong/KCRG-TV9)

That's true for the Dubuque County Recorder and Zoning offices. Both want to go digital to save time, money and space.

Inside the recorder office is a machine that's pretty dated.

"It's before my time," Dubuque County Recorder John Murphy joked.

Despite its age, this is how documents at the office are viewed.

A person presses a down or up arrow to move the rows along. Each row has cards, which has an image of a document. That document could be a mortgage, deed or contract.

That card is then put under a another machine, which enlarges it onto a computer screen.

Murphy says he has wanted to digitize these cards since he took office a few years ago.

He said, "it will drastically reduce the amount of traffic we have coming into the building to look at these cards. They'll be able to do it on their home computers."

He also says it's just a good idea to have this all backed up.

"Getting this project complete I think is essential for a disaster preparedness standpoint," Murphy said.

The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors approved 3-0 to allow an outside company to digitize the cards dated from 1988-1996

Murphy says it will cost about $76,000.

Anna O'Shea, Zoning Administrator at the Dubuque County Zoning Department, says she also wants to digitize files in her office, which go back to 1969.

O'Shea says they have over 20 filing cabinets that have taken over the building.

"Every year we add at least one new cabinet," she said.

O'Shea says they don't have anything backed up online.

"We don't have anything scanned in, so everything from 1969 when zoning was adopted is still in this office," she explained.

She says digitizing these files would give her back some office space.

"We probably would have room for extra office desks, or little tables, or you know lots of room for extra things if we need it," O'Shea said.

And like Murphy, she is eager to get her office up to speed.

"We're ready to move on."