Civil Status digitises documents and records | 29 August 2018
The digitisation of documents project at the Civil Status Department is nearing completion.
The project which was started in 2016 is currently in the second phase whereby the final documents are being scanned to be entered and organised on a database.
Digitisation is the process of converting documents and records into a digital format.
The documents and records date back as far as 1800 and include birth, marriage and death certificates which have been registered on the inner islands.
Principal Civil Status Officer Marietta Labrosse stated that the department wants to become more efficient and effective in terms of the services that they offer to the public.
“We decided to digitise our records because it facilitates the whole process when officers need to find documents. It is simply quicker and easier to access a digital file as compared to physical records,” she said.
The department has been working closely with the Department of Information Communication Technology (DICT) who is responsible for setting up and maintaining the database.
Restoration technician Joe Laurence, who was awarded the contract for the project, explained that the process of digitising the records is time-consuming as there are various processes involved.
“These documents are extremely important so we have to handle them with care. My team and I start off by assessing the documents and then cleaning them. The other step is to fumigate them since our climate and environment makes them prone to fungus.”
Once the documents have been cleaned, the next step is to repair any damaged or torn ones and it finally proceeds to the scanning stage whereby it is ready to be entered into the database.
The database has already been set up with the majority of the records available digitally. The Civil Status department will continue to use physical records to record information in the first instance but these will undergo the scanning process so they can be included in the database as well.
Individuals seeking records and official documents from the office are expected to benefit from lessened waiting times.
There is also the possibility that individuals will be able to view such information online through the department’s website or portal in the near future once such mediums have been set up.