Sacramento County property-data picture is looking ROSI

Until last year, residents of California's Sacramento County looked up property information on microfiche. The cutting-edge imaging technology of the 1970s was one of two ways that county residents and other interested parties researched information on property records.

The other way was through the Recorder Online System Index, or ROSI (pronounced 'rosy'), said Craig Kramer, assistant county clerk recorder. ROSI was stored on a mainframe. Users could come to the recorder's office and look up property information on dumb terminals. Each month, the county adds 50,000 new property records to the system.

But all that changed last July 1, when the county went live with e-ROSI, a Web-enabled version of the county's property index.

The county built a Web site, www.erosi.saccounty.net, which lets anyone'lenders, title or mortgage company officials, real estate agents or other interested parties'search an index of the county's property records dating back to 1965.

Visitors to the Web site can search for a property by the owner's registered name or organization. Clicking on a red rose at the top of the Web page initiates an e-ROSI search.

Within seconds, the site serves up the index information of the properties recorded in that name. For example, a search of the name Gray Davis produced four results. Listed were the kind of document'in this case, judgments'the volume of the book or the number of the microfilm reel that contained the record in the recorder's office and the specific page number of the document.

California law prohibits putting images of recorded documents on the Internet, so scanning the documents and putting them on the Web in an electronic format was not an option, Kramer said. It would also be more expensive.

County officials used EntireX Extensible Markup Language integration tools from Software AG of Reston, Va., to Web-enable the ROSI legacy system.

The site logged a million visitors in its first five months, Kramer said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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