Our Cedar Rapids, Iowa headquarters is a 76,000 square foot facility purpose-built for microfilm storage and meets ANSI (American National Standards Institute), NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) standards.

Established in 1979, ANSI/AIIM standards for microfilm monitor both the production and storage of microfilm. AIIM Standards can be found online at AIIM.

We preserve every newspaper page on 35 mm silver halide microfilm, captured in accordance to the ANSI/AIM standards and store the microfilmed reels in our humidity and temperature controlled vault. Once safely in our vault, that content is protected for the next 500 years!

Wood County District Public Library (Ohio) director and Advantage Preservation customer Michael Penrod recently commented on the importance of microfilm for preservation in an article featured in the Ohio Sentinel-Tribune. Although, Advantage Preservation provided digitization services for the local newspapers, Mr. Penrod made it clear that this service will not replace the microfilm collection.

The technology is not proven, unlike microfilm, which has been shown to withstand just about anything.” said Mr. Penrod.

We share the same belief in that microfilming is a necessity for the preservation process, enhanced by digitization to provide access and education. Digitization alone offers amazing access, but is limited in its sustainability due to technology changes, migration, and cost to maintain. With microfilm that is stored to our standards, the content will be available for future generations and accessed by anyone with a magnifying glass and a light source.

If not filmed, stored and cared for properly, microfilm can still experience a variety of issues:

  • Film quality – errors and defects in the filming process can include over or under exposed images, issues with the focus and damage to the source material.
  • Redox or reduction-oxidation, is a process in which oxidation may cause blemishes in an image. The source of the degradation is often air pollutants and humidity.
  • Vinegar syndrome is another common issue described as the autocatalytic deterioration of cellulose acetate. Acetic acid is released as a by-product of deterioration and typically smells like vinegar.

At Advantage companies, we have a team of microfilm professionals and technicians with years of identifying and dealing with these very issues. Our facility is tailored to fit the needs for long-term archival storage and prevent any issues associated with the storage environment including temperature, humidity and pollutants.

To outline some of the Advantages of microfilm and microfilm storage vs. other preservation methods:

  • Microfilm allows libraries and other organizations to provide access to old, valuable and often times fragile collections through microfilm and microfilm readers. Microfilm can be damaged with use, which is why multiple copies are easily created to ensure preservation.
  • Microfilm is compact with significantly lower storage costs than paper documents or a digital archive. When compared to paper documents, microfilm can reduce space storage requirements by up to 95 percent. Microfilm is also virtually cost free once filmed while a digital archive does have maintenance costs associated with servers and upkeep.
  • Microfilm, if stored properly, can last for hundreds of years and accessed easily without the use of technology.
  • Due to copyright, microfilm is still one of the best sources for researching old newspapers.
  • Microfilm can be digitized and made searchable for access on a computer.
  • Archival standard.