Server may solve Circuit Clerk issues
by Jazz Clark
The office of the Circuit Clerk is in need of a way of sharing court dockets among themselves and other clerks, and a new data server may be the answer.
The system would allow all the different computers connected to the network to see the same information.
“We only have one courtroom,” said Kimberly Jackson, Circuit Clerk. “We have several visiting judges now, and while the magistrates have been wonderful about letting us use their courts, it’s difficult to do these exchanges when everyone’s not looking at the same calendar.”
A server would solve organization problems because every judge could have a code and know exactly what room they would be in, and could allow for information shar-ing between computers, assesses Jackson.
“We would use Microsoft Office Outlook to create calendars, and we need a Microsoft Exchange server so everyone in the office could share and have access to case information,” said Dave McDonald, Director of Information Technology for the courthouse. “We used to have everything on one computer and played a game of musical computers while we shifted everything down the line.”
McDonald wants to use the Microsoft Exchange program for their server, because if other offices in the building wanted to share the server they could keep the confidential circuit clerk data separate. Only the circuit clerk would be able to see their own information.
Also provided would be in-house email to replace the system in place now that some folks don’t like, McDonald said.
The cheapest estimates for a server with seven user licenses for just the Circuit Clerk offices, is $3,000 from Tigerdirect. Dell’s, at more than $5,000, was for an overbuilt system that wasn’t necessary, according to McDonald.
Every user on the network needs a license, which are government pro-rated at $51.23 each. If the county commission wanted to access the server, they would need to come up with funding to buy a license for every user who needs to access the data.
The server will likely be installed in the second floor communications room.
“The Supreme Court won’t want me docketing confidential information if the data isn’t secure,” Jackson said. “This is one way the whole courthouse could eventually make use of the system.”
If the Supreme Court pays for the system, however, they will likely stop sharing any information between courthouse offices on that server. It all depends on where the funding comes from, warns McDonald.
“That’s just a worse case scenario, and I don’t expect a decision right now,” said Jackson.
McDonald has other plans in place for making the courthouse high tech.
McDonald obtained some donated laptops, one of which he plans to hook up
to a wall monitor right outside the County Commission meeting rooms to display meeting information. The goal is to make the laptops work with the new server.
The computers in the Clerk’s office are having extra memory installed because they’ve been steadily slowing down, Jackson said.
The additional memory can more than double the performance of the system, said McDonald. They are also buying one new computer for the staff, which will free a computer to replace the aging public terminal in front of the office. The cost of the computer is $449.
“We actually salvaged that computer from the old courthouse,” said Jackson. “We don’t really have to have it, but it saves so much time
for the ladies in the office having to look things up for people.”