Frequently Asked Questions

 Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is Advantage Preservation?

Advantage Preservation is dedicated solely to the preservation and digital access of historical newspaper content. Working with over 500 libraries and newspaper publishers across the country, Advantage Preservation carefully captures the “first draft of history” to microfilm in accordance to ANSI/AIIM standards for 500-year preservation. In addition, Advantage provides online access to that content as an enhancement to the preservation process, making that valuable content more easily accessible. In short: We preserve the past to ensure its future.

What quality standards does Advantage Preservation adhere to?

Advantage Preservation meets or exceeds all ANSI/AIIM standards for microfilm production, storage and duplication. We have developed an extensive, multi pass quality assurance program, and consider ourselves the preeminent microfilm lab in the country in terms of the quality of film produced. We apply the same strict quality control guidelines to our digital projects as well as our traditional conversion services. Our film is always produced in our film lab in our Cedar Rapids, Iowa facility. At no time will your original materials or film leave our facility without your express written consent.

What kind of microfilm does Advantage Preservation Use?

Advantage Preservation creates all silver halide microfilm used for newspaper preservation in our FUJIFILM Certified Lab, using only the highest archival quality FUJIFILM products. The FUJIFILM North America Corporation Microfilm Processing Certification Program is designed to ensure processing consistency and quality through monitoring of our lab’s process activity level and QC control procedures. FUJIFILM-certified labs must perform daily and monthly testing to keep their certification current.

What are the different types of microfilm?

At Advantage Preservation, we provide Archival Quality microfilming services to hundreds of libraries, Historical Societies and Publishers across the country. The preservation filming process includes a Master Negative, Silver Duplicate Negative and Silver Positive Service Copy. We will attempt to outline these and other types of film in the article found here.

What are the advantages of microfilm preservation and storage?

Microfilm has maintained its position as the standard for preservation since the 1930’s and for good reason. Microfilm that was created in the 1930’s and stored properly is still accessible today. That is why at the Advantage Companies, microfilming is still our preservation process and we provide microfilm services and storage to libraries and institutions across the country.

How will Advantage Preservation store our microfilm?

We store all microfilm in our environmentally controlled, purpose built, and secure microform storage facility.  We inspect, test,  & inventory all film in your collection upon arrival and audit your collection annually. You will receive detailed reporting as to the condition & completion of your archive, as well as recommendations on how we may further protect and provide access to your collection..

Where will Advantage Preservation physically store our microfilm?

All of our publishing partner’s microfilm is stored on-site in our 80,000 square foot facility located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and will not be moved, transferred, or stored elsewhere without the publisher’s express written permission.

What are my rights as a publisher?

You own your film and the content. Period. Advantage Preservation is merely the custodian of your archive. We will provide our clients services and help them monetize their archive, but at the end of the day, what we do and how we do it is at the discretion of the publisher.

How do we benefit from a relationship with Advantage Preservation?

We pay royalties on every sale, creating a revenue stream to compliment the high quality product and service you will receive. At Advantage Preservation we recognize that your entire archive is a valuable asset and under your ownership. Advantage Preservation will partner with you to monetize this content on your behalf, and will not reuse, sell, “loan”, or otherwise profit from your archive without your express written consent and a fair royalty agreement in place.

What makes Advantage Preservation “different”?

We are not new to this business. Every member of our team has extensive experience in historical preservation and newspaper conversion. Many of us worked at well known microfilm service providers and newspaper digitization companies that we felt were doing a great disservice to their clients. We came together to form Advantage Preservation; a collaboration with newspapers and libraries to expand knowledge, reinforce the value and importance of newspapers, and build a viable and sustainable business model to benefit newspaper publishers and properly preserve history.

What are my rights as a microfilm subscriber?

We have had many conversations with librarians, newspaper publishers  and state entities who are deeply concerned with their current microfilm preservation companies.  Between receiving poor quality microfilm with a clear lack of adherence to national standards and often receiving their subscriptions months (we’ve heard, in some extreme cases, as much as a year) after the newspaper is published, they are worried about trusting these companies with their preservation budgets, about providing good and current resources to their patrons, and ultimately about the preservation of their town’s history.

What are the Community History Archives?

We believe preserving history is a shared responsibility. Advantage Preservation, Community Publishers, Libraries, and other like minded individuals have come together to make local content more accessible as a now and in the future.

How do I use the Community History Archives?

We have created a series of tutorials that will provide you with an overview of  the Community History Archives and guide you on how to use the features and toolsets of the site as well as how to navigate the Search Engine Results Page, and Image Viewer.

Why should I digitize my community’s history?

Keyword searching allows staff to find information within seconds of typing in a name/search term. (Less time spent thumbing through page by page of newspapers or microfilm is more time spent assisting patrons & working on other projects/programs for the library). The faster & more accurately the library can meet your patrons & community members needs the better the perception of the library. The faster you can find the information they need, the more your staff can be devoted to other projects, and the happier the community is with the services of the library.  The better quality service of the library, the better opportunity for donations from patrons & community members, which allows the library to grow and add more services to the community over time

How do I find funding and grants for local historical preservation projects? 

Preserving our cultural heritage often falls to local communities and groups, with small staffs and even smaller budgets. Cities, counties and community organizations collect records, vital statistics and transactional data that, over the years, tell the story of an era. Previously this data was the purview of a few local historians and government types but, more and more, citizens are recognizing the importance of preserving historical documents for the long term and making them accessible to anyone, anywhere. Funding for these digital conversion projects is scarce and the competition is tough, but it is out there.

Who do I contact to get my community’s history archived and available online?

The newspaper industry in the United States has evolved considerably over the last 300 years. Each development in the typesetting methods, printing process, and paper stock created unique challenges in adapting the digital image of old newspapers to a searchable format.

What is the difference between bi-tonal and grayscale scanning?

When a library or newspaper publisher approaches us to discuss the creation of a digital archive, we field a wide range of questions. Is it best to digitize from microfilm directly? Should we flatbed scan our newspapers? If we digitize how long will this preserve our content? What types of metadata fields should we use? Can we do it ourselves?

Why is OCR so poor on historical newspapers?

The newspaper industry in the United States has evolved considerably over the last 300 years. Each development in the typesetting methods, printing process, and paper stock created unique challenges in adapting the digital image of old newspapers to a searchable format.

What is the IAhistory project?

As Iowans, we believe that the preservation of our collective history is a shared responsibility. We want other like-minded Iowans to join the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Advantage Companies in their mission to ensure that Iowa’s “first draft of history” is available for current and future generations.

What is the Advantage Companies Relationship with the State Historical Society of Iowa?

Advantage Preservation and the State Historical Society have enjoyed a long partnership, and the IAhistory project is an extension of our relationship. Together we will continue in our shared mission of preserving the State Of Iowas “first rough draft of history” as recorded in the hundreds of newspapers published across Iowa over the last 180 years. Learn more about how we will continue our work at the local community level and how Advantage Preservation & The State Historical Society Of Iowa will continue to preserve Iowa’s past and ensure it’s future

How can I help support the IAhistory project?

We are always looking more like-minded Iowans to join us in preserving and providing access to our shared history as it was recorded in Iowa’s newspapers ! If you are a publisher, community library, foundation, business, or a person who has interest in ensuring that the history contained in your local community’s newspaper is available to future generations, we encourage you to contact us today.

Where can I find the latest news or announcements?

We have several ways in which you are able to stay up to date on announcements, company media mentions, educational articles and more. Connect with us on social media, read our blog, and find educational articles on document management and preservation support solutions from our team experts who have over 100 years of combined industry experience


Advantage provides storage, document management, and preservation support solutions to organizations across the United States. These services include, but are by no means limited to: Archive Inspection & Audit Services, Records Management & Storage, HIPAA Compliant Records Management, HIPAA Compliant Document Management, Digitization of Microfilm, Hosted Imaging Solutions, Secure Vault Storage, Document Destruction & Shredding, Digital Storage & Access Solutions, Microfilm Storage, Large Format Document Scanning, and Digital Archive Hosting.


Advantage provides services and solutions to organizations in Iowa and across the United States. We are proud to serve: State & Local Governments, Libraries & Historical Societies, Newspaper Publishers, Health Care Institutions, Educational Institutions, Transportation & Logistics Organizations, State Historical Societies, Manufacturers, Legal Professionals, and many more.

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