Illinois county puts property data on the Web

For officials in Illinois' DuPage County Recorder's Office, 28 years of successful work experience is something to be valued, not tossed away like an old shoe. Even in a mainframe.

The office has been using an IBM mainframe since 1976, said Fred Bucholz, chief deputy recorder for the county. 'It ran too well to replace,' he said. 'We never wanted to abandon the mainframe. It was too stable and had great support. I see my servers go up and down, but we never see that happening to the mainframe.'

The mainframe, an IBM Multiprise 3000 Model 7060-H30, stored the county's property records in VSAM files. People had to drive to the Recorder's Office in Wheaton, Ill., to look up their records.

Most information in the Recorder's Office is public, just the kind of thing citizens clamor to see on the Web. The office felt a lot of pressure to make property records accessible over the Internet.

'A lot of vendors say, 'Buy our Web product, but we want a revenue share,' ' Bucholz said. 'It's a great come-on. In a week or less, you could be on the Internet.'

But the Recorder's Office wanted to control how its sites looked. 'We also wanted to be involved in the revenue end of it,' Bucholz said. 'We needed a piece of what they used to call middleware.'

County officials used tcAccess software from GT Software Inc. of Atlanta to get the site ready to launch. The software provides Web access to the mainframe VSAM files using an ANSI Structured Query Language interface.

Officials used scanning equipment and Engineering Exec software from Oc' of Venlo, Netherlands, to scan the county's database of plat images. County officials said it used to take four to six weeks to record a plat, as compared with 24 hours with the Oc' system.

'We weren't quick in getting onto the Web,' Bucholz said. 'But we like the end result. Everything is owned by us. We make all the changes.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.


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