How Collin County Simplified Electronic Stamping
Laserfiche Solution Provided by: Tim Nolan, Application Manager and Balaji Palaniswamy, IT, Collin County, TX
Collin County, TX is located 20 miles outside of Dallas. With a population of 935,000 citizens, Collin County is the fourth-most populous county in Texas—and its population is expected to double by 2030. Over the last several years, there has been a countywide paperless initiative and a push to digitize records. The initiative caused the county to rethink and reconfigure several process in order to reduce the amount of paper used and to better utilize the time of employees.
One of the paper-heavy processes that the county transformed into an efficient electronic process with Laserfiche, was the document stamping process.
Outside entities such as banks supply four physical copies of each document, such as a foreclosure document, that need to be signed by the county. Previously, county employees would stamp each page of every copy in a rubber stamping machine. This machine would affix the page number and the current date. Once the pages were stamped, the employee would initial each page by hand. A single foreclosure document contains over one hundred pages and could take hours to sign and stamp.
The new electronic process is much more efficient. A clerk scans one copy of the document into Laserfiche. Once the document is scanned in, the clerk opens it in Laserfiche and selects the desired stamp from four buttons at the top of the document viewer. The buttons correspond to the following stamps:
- Account number
- Current page number
- Total pages in the document
- Clerk’s initials and current date (called Filed)
These buttons allow clerks to stamp document pages with dynamically populated stamps.
The Account Number stamp uses the account number from the document’s Laserfiche metadata.
The Page Count and the Page Number stamps can be dragged to the current page, or they can be applied to either all the pages or a range of pages.
The Filed stamp uses the current user’s Windows credentials to dynamically create the initials. The clerk simply selects the Filed button and drags the image to the correct area of the document.
Once the stamps have been applied, the clerk saves the document, replacing the previous version of the document with the stamped version. This permanently burns the stamps into the document, ensuring that it cannot be altered.
Collin County used the Laserfiche SDK to create these stamps. During the stamping process, the HTML text stored in the SQL database is converted to an image in real-time and the image is applied to the stamp. The HTMLToImage module uses a third party library, ABCpdf, to convert the HTML text to a Tiff image.
The standalone Windows application is invoked from inside the Laserfiche Client in the form of toolbar button. This was accomplished by using the Client Automation Tools, which is part of the SDK. The Client Automation tool utilizes the metadata from the repository along with the document information including the page number, page count and passes the data to the standalone stamp application. This application uses the Win32 API calls to allow employees to apply the stamp at the relevant section of the document.
Benefits of Laserfiche
Since digitizing the stamping process with Laserfiche, Collin County has:
- Saved hundreds of hours of manual labor as clerks no longer have to manually sign each document
- Remained in compliance with state regulations as the documents cannot be altered after being stamped
- Made records easily accessible to employees and available to the public via a secure public portal