How Does the Title of “Expert” Affect Your Scanning/Indexing Projects?

When Common Core became the adopted educational standard in the United States in 2010, teaching of script/cursive writing became almost obsolete. Texas’ State Board of Education approved new learning standards in 2017 which added cursive writing back into the curriculum for the current school year (2019/2020) starting with second graders and also including requirements for 4th and 5th graders.

The good news is that over a dozen other states are also adding cursive writing back into their curriculum. But the damage has been done. For almost a decade, our future leaders have not learned how to sign a traditional signature. Many struggle to read a hand-written note from their grandparents and completing the essay portion of the SAT in longhand was panic-inducing. If you calculate in another seven years for those who have missed the mandate (current 6th – 12th graders in Texas) we have an entire generation who is cursive illiterate.

In a world dominated by smart phones, tablets and keyboards, why do we need such a skillset? Can’t they just Google and locate anything they desire? From a historical document standpoint, that all depends on digitization and indexing. Census records, for example (which don’t become available for 72 years) can be difficult to read.

With the 1950 census not becoming available until 2022, it’s guaranteed these will be handwritten. Indexers are most certainly working to get them completed so they’ll be available to genealogy researchers and the like. How accurate will the indexing be? How will we know? As with any product or service, you get what you pay for.

What does this mean for the historical records you’re in charge of? Accuracy is essential when title companies are searching land records to establish chain of title. And documents pertaining to probate/inherited properties would be equally important. No matter the document type, if the indexer can’t read the writing, there’s no point in digitizing them. As time wears on, it may become more difficult to find an “expert” who can read and decipher the original documents so they can be accurately indexed and records can be located. These experts will demand higher pay because they have a unique and in-demand skill set, which translates to higher project costs for your office as you shop for backfile scanning and indexing services.

Not only do you want to be better prepared for the next lockdown/quarantine, you also want to be prepared for a skill-set gap. If your complete historical records are not digitized and available for online searches, it should be on your priority list. Our solutions specialists can provide you with a free assessment and will consult with you to create a plan and budget schedule. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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