Friday, February 17, 2012

MassLandRecords training

This morning I spent a couple of hours at the Northeast Association of Realtors office in Westford speaking to a group of about 50 real estate professionals about the relatively new MassLandRecords website.  The event was sponsored by the law firm of Perkins & Anctil which is co-located with NEAR at 6 Lyberty Way in Westford.  Using the large classroom at the site, I was able to access the website and project it onto a large screen so that everyone could follow along.  Rather than do a set presentation, I walked my way through the site, showing how to do name and property searches and how the registered land part of the website is arranged.

The issue that generated the most questions was printing.  Many people have trouble printing a document in the proper size.  Many find the document images print in a greatly magnified way so that only a small portion of a document will appear in giant print on a piece of paper.  For the most part, that's an issue between the user's computer, printer and operating systems.  The most likely culprit is a setting of some type for the printer and occurs with some frequency on the computers of those in the real estate business.  None of our printers here at the registry offer the problematic setting but it's something like "scale for PDF".  If you're having problem printing documents from MassLandRecords and that shows up in your printer dialog box when you go to print, de-select it and your document should print in the proper scale.

I encouraged everyone to begin using the "basket" feature instead of the "print document" command.  The basket allows you to set aside documents for downloading and then download them all at once.  When you download in this manner, they come to you as PDF files which I believe are more stable and predictable on your computer than the standard TIFF format that we use for images.  To use this feature, just click "add to basket" and then click the "basket" which is just to the right of the FAQ link on the front page. 

The attendees also showed great enthusiasm for the web features that give full access to our older indexes and documents.  I demonstrated this by searching for Benjamin Butler in the decade before the Civil War.  While current real estate business might not require records of that age, many in attendance seemed interested in history which would account for their enthusiasm.

This morning's event was very useful for me, providing an opportunity to receive feedback from regular website users.  Hopefully, those who attended also found some value in it.  If you would like me come to your office to speak with your staff or your organization about making the most of the new MassLandRecords, I'm happy to do so.  Just send me an email at to set something up.

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