County Binders

"We at County Binders realize the importance of Preserving your County Records Properly."

We Utilize:
  • The Best Traditional Methods & Highest Quality Materials in the Record Book/Refinishing & Restoration Process.

  • Microfilming: We meet the established ANSI/ISO Archival Microfilming Requirements/Standards and can make a working copy (Diazo Film) from your permanent Silver Halide film.

  • Scanning of all sized documents

  • Digitizing of Images for computer usage

  • Conversion of Microfilm/Microfiche Cards/Microfiche film to Digital Images

Scanning & Digitizing: 
  • High resolution DPI for Scanning of all sized documents

  • Utilizing the Highest standards for Conversion Technology and Equipment

  • High resolution camera for Digitizing of images for computer usage

This commitment means that “ALL” your Older & Present County Records will be usable/available for Today's and Future Generations.

From the Maryville Daily Forum

Published July 20 2017
Written by Tony Brown

County preservation effort goes by the book

Jim Mori

Work to preserve and back up indexes to deeds, mortgages, easement records, surveys and other documents kept on file by the recorder of deeds’ office and going back more than 170 years continued this week at the Nodaway County Administration Center.

The task began last month when technicians from U.S. Imaging, a company based in Saginaw, Michigan, created digital images of each page bound into the massive, leather-and-canvas-covered volumes.

Now Jim Mori, who owns and operates County Binders out of Waukee, Iowa, is repairing or rebinding the books themselves.

The indexes preserve entries for documents dating from 1845, the year Nodaway County was founded, through 2002. Time and use have caused many of the bindings to deteriorate and begin to split apart, and Mori is going through the painstaking process of evaluating and restoring the volumes one book at a time.

Recorder of Deeds Sandy Smail said most of the books created after 1970 or so are still in good shape and won’t have to be restored.
On the other end of the spectrum, some of the indexes from the 19th century are so badly deteriorated that the paper pages themselves have become unstable.
Jim at work

This has forced Mori to seal each page — one at a time — inside archival-quality plastic laminate sleeves. Once the lamination process is complete, the original books will be replaced with high-quality loose-leaf binders.

After 2002, the county began creating index entries using computers, binding a year’s worth of paper printouts into a new hardcopy index volume at the end of each year. Those books, which serve essentially as backups to the digital indexes, are not embraced by the current restoration effort.

Laminating or rebinding the indexes will cost the county around $17,000, the same amount expended on the digitizing project completed earlier this summer. In addition, Smail has budgeted $6,000 as a local match for the grant-funded purchase of a new state-of-the-art microfilm reader and another $6,000 or $7,000 for miscellaneous microfilming needs.

That means that her office will expend approximately $45,000 in 2017 for document preservation.

Asked why such an expense was justified, Smail said relying strictly on digital records is a risky proposition, and noted that paper and microfilm, if properly stored and maintained, can last hundreds of years.

“I feel strongly that paper is very important,” said Smail, who offered this spring’s catastrophic flood of the Carter County Courthouse in southeast Missouri as a case in point.

The flood, she said, swamped the basement-level recorder’s office, destroying all computers and electronic storage devices. Deed and mortgage books were actually washed off their racks and found floating in the high water.

But while the computers were ruined, Smail said, the books can be saved.

The state’s Local Records Preservation Program dispatched a refrigerated tractor-trailer to Van Buren, the county seat, so that the volumes could be chilled, thus protecting them from mold until they can be dried out and restored by Missouri State Archive experts.

“Sadly, as much as I enjoy technology, it’s not necessarily permanent,” Smail said. “But I can still pull that first book from 1845 off the shelf, and I can still read it. From a preservation standpoint, it’s important to have that paper record.”

Mori, who plies his trade using materials more commonly associated with 1817 than 2017 — glove-soft leather, white canvas, rag paper, book boards, cloth tape and linen thread — agrees.

“The thing about digital records is that we don’t really know how permanent they are right now,” he said. “Technology has changed the world, but it has an Achilles heel, what some people are calling a digital dark age.”

Any number of countries — including North Korea, Mori said — are believed to be developing cyber weapons designed to take down or destroy digital infrastructure on a massive scale.

Mori said such an attack, if successful, could virtually erase the segments of the nation’s economy based on electronic currency and property ownership.

“You wouldn’t have money, and you wouldn’t have a record of real estate transactions,” he said, “basically the things the entire system is based on.”

On a less catastrophic, but still cautionary, note, Mori said many computerized data storage systems used by government entities are built around proprietary software easily rendered obsolete or even unusable if the IT company that makes it goes out of business.

In addition, the cost of maintaining, updating and replacing such systems can grow very expensive, he said, and at some point may outstrip the fiscal resources of many county and municipal governments.

“We’re all sailing on the same ship,” he said of the inevitable shift toward digitization, “but we haven’t protected ourselves for the future.”

Written by
Staff writer Tony Brown can be reached at tbrown@maryvilledailyforum.com or by calling the newspaper at 660.562.2424.