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(Woodbury, NJ) - Gloucester County is the recipient of a $1,183,800 PARIS grant from the New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management (DARM). Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Bill Krebs announced that the grant award will further the county's comprehensive record inventory and allow the county to archive and electronically record and preserve documents so that they will be usable and readable in perpetuity.

"This is the second year that we have received one of the largest grant awards in the state for preserving our records and we largely attribute that to the amount of documents we have from the 1700's and 1800's and the commitment the county has to preserve them," said Freeholder Director Sweeney. "We have been very aggressive in our efforts to preserve our documents and to utilize technology to electronically record documents, which not only saves our documents, but it adds efficiency," Sweeney said.

The PARIS grant, (Public Archives and Records Infrastructure Support) is currently being utilized for preserving and conserving historical maps, the surrogate's earliest books (wills, estates), back filing deed images to match the clerk's indexing back to 1959, microfilming permanent records- earliest mortgage books from 1800's, naturalization records 1800's -1900's, and earliest tax lists (early 1900's), providing a disaster plan for the physical records in the event of a disaster (flood, explosion, etc.), image conversion of Freeholder minutes, implementing a electronic document imaging system in eight departments (LaserFiche software), providing records management training and archival training for staff, compiling an accurate inventory of all historical documents held by the Gloucester County Historical society via the depository agreement.

With the 2006-2207 grant funding the county will be continuing its disaster plan to incorporate six additional key sites where essential records are held, performing a municipal needs assessment of 22 of the 24 municipalities regarding records management and shared services, a facility study, continuing to conserve the surrogate books, a treatment plan for the historical documents kept at the historical society to ascertain the current condition of these records, provide an enterprise wide imaging system for the Surrogate's Office, back imaging of files for both planning and engineering, back loading the Clerk's mortgage images to match the computer indexing to 1967, continue to expand countywide implementation of LaserFiche,.

"We have many departments working together to preserve and record our documents, which is creating a much more efficient system then when paper records were just stored in boxes," said Freeholder Bill Krebs, liaison to the county's Information and Technology Department. It's amazing to see how far technology has advanced so that we can record and store documents from today, twenty years ago and a hundred years ago so that they will be viable in a hundred years from now," Krebs said.

In 2003 the legislature established the New Jersey Public Records Preservation Account and provided a funding source through certain document filing and recording fees collected by the county clerks. The State Records Committee created the PARIS Grants program in December of 2004 for the purpose of having the 21 counties apply annually for the competitive grants for achieving and recording. The grant begins July 1st and runs on the states' fiscal year.

Last year was the first year of the PARIS grant and Gloucester County was awarded $1,446,481.