Some time ago, the York County Maine Government began a long-term initiative to preserve county records that stretch back to the early days following the formation of the county in 1636. The work has included locating, examining, sorting – and much more – and the formation of a step-by-step plan on how to proceed over time.
Some records were preserved decades ago on microfilm, the top-of-the-line technology available at the time. But as the years passed and technology advanced, parts for aging microfilm readers became harder and harder to come by, said Register of Deeds Nancy Hammond, who displayed a box containing a few extra parts that they’ve held onto in the event they’re needed.
Recently, given the age – estimated at 50 years – and long-term viability of the microfilm reader in use, York County Commissioners gave the okay for a new, computer-based reader that also has the ability to enhance text, among other features, making the old microfilm easier to read.
Professional archivist Paige Lilly, who has been helping the county with its preservation efforts, noted the new technology is a step in the county’s quest for a future searchable online access to commissioner records.
Some staff undertook a training session on Wednesday, Dec 20, led by Putnam Morgan of Servicestar Document Management, Inc., the vendor.
The current microfilm reader will continue to be used for a while until staff is up to speed with the new technology, said Hammond.
The new computer-based reader “is a huge step forward in a very long journey,” she said.