Digital Conversion Services

Historical newspapers are our primary focus, and it is our mission to preserve the valuable content contained within those pages. We also recognize the importance of other historical documents, and our passion to preserve history applies to these as well.

Digital Conversion Services

At Advantage, we understand that preservation is only 1/2 of the equation. Once your materials are safely archived on microfilm, you need to consider accessibility to the valuable content. Although historical newspaper digitization is our specialty, we have equal passion for all historic documents, including vital records, transcripts, journals, and more. Researchers and Genealogists that visit your institution can save time by searching through your community’s history by name, date-range, keywords, publication, or location

Historical Document Scanning

Advantage will convert not only historical newspapers, but also ship manifests, muster rolls, yearbooks, plat maps, journals, photos, rare books, and much more. Document imaging services and document scanning services from Advantage include indexing and online document hosting. We integrate existing databases with files kept in paper, microfilm and microfiche.

We have wide experience with difficult paper such as tissue or color copies and two-sided documents. All valuable and fragile papers are evaluated and processed to assure proper care and accurate conversion. Our experience covers a broad range of historical document types. All phases of the archival document imaging process, such as preparation, document scanning, document indexing, PDF conversion, OCR / ICR, etc. are managed effectively by the experienced team at Advantage. We work closely with our clients through the entire lifecycle of the project utilizing proven project management methodologies.

Our web based archive hosting provides institutions secure access is available to authorized users from any location. We fully administer our sites for backup, software and hardware upgrades, security monitoring, etc.

We do not have an “out-of-the-box” approach to digital conversions. Our experience substantiates the commonsense premise that every client’s needs are somewhat different, even within the same institution and application area. As a result, every Advantage project is customized and tailored to specific client requirements.

Microfilm Scanning & Digital Conversion

Microfilm scanning plays a very important role in any historical document preservation and access strategy, and Advantage specializes in this field – the result of over 30 years of working with micrographic media.  Our FujiFilm certified microfilm laboratory has converted hundreds of millions of images from microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards. We utilize proven high-speed conversion equipment combined with proprietary processes that can digitally convert more than 5 million images  of 16mm or 35mm microfilm per month.

Microfilm conversion is a multi-step process.  At Advantage, we begin by auditing a random selection of the client’s film and running a project test to determine the scope of work and the best methods for accomplishing the clients desired end result. As part of this consultative approach, all scanning samples are saved in a template and examples are sent to our client for approval. Upon approval, scanning begins with inspection of the film to identify scratches, tears, reels without headers, and other defects that could impact the quality of the digital scan. If problems are found, we notify our client so that adjustments can be made.

During scanning, variances in film density are automatically adjusted and manually verified.  The images are indexed according to predetermined criteria and individual documents can be identified with metadata such as publication, city, state, date and page number. and then processed for desired file type (TIFF, JPEG, PDF and other formats).  We also offer full-text search using Optical Character Recognition.  If the documents will be uploaded into an existing imaging system, the required output structure is generated.

The final quality control steps confirm that our policies and standards have been followed and our process were correctly implemented.  We statistically inspect final output to insure that image quality, indexing and output formatting are the best representation of the original source materials.

Microfiche Digitization

In addition to roll microfilm digitization, we offer many options for conversion of microfiche to digital image, placing us in a unique position to handle any microfiche of historical documents you may have.  We have experience with newspapers, books, maps, blueprints and almost any other microfiche documents needing digital conversion. Although similar to microfilm roll scanning, microfiche images must be individually scanned, and the conversion requires more time than roll film. Each microfiche card can vary in format, and number of images. We convert jacketed fiche filmed at various reduction ratios in both simplex and duplex modes.  Multiple reduction ratios can exist on one fiche. We process large single-image fiche containing maps or other large graphic images in grayscale, color or black and white.  We process Computer Output Microfiche and film (COM) containing standardized grids including ultra high reduction ratios.

Large Format Document Scanning

Older governmental records, such as birth certificates, death records, marriage related documents, land deeds, etc. were often recorded in large permanently bound archival libers. At Advantage, we convert fragile archival documents and bound volumes with meticulous professional handling to maintain document integrity.   We have worked with county officials to scan large plat books that were hand written and often the only record available.

While it may be physically possible to guillotine or disassemble bound materials to scan using lower-cost automatic page feeding, there are important archival and legal reasons that vital documents may have to be individually handled. Depending upon the condition of the documents, we scan directly to digital form or microfilm the items and then scan the film. Our services are utilized by leading libraries, archives and universities.  Our processes align to ANSI/AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) standards for archival microfilming, as well as specifications developed by the Research Libraries Group (RLG) & by the Library of Congress. This requires stringent adherence to our internal guidelines regarding the careful production & examination of all archival microfilm, in addition to well controlled storage & handling conditions

Our processes align to ANSI/AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) standards for archival microfilming, as well as specifications developed by the Research Libraries Group (RLG) & by the Library of Congress. This requires stringent adherence to our internal guidelines regarding the careful production & examination of all archival microfilm, in addition to well controlled storage & handling conditions

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Combined, the Advantage team has been partnering with Libraries, Colleges, and Historical Societies to preserve their local history for over a century. We take great pride in converting local historical newspapers, record books, public records, and photos onto 35mm Silver Halide Microfilm to protect the valuable content from the ravages of time. Our Microfilm meets all ANSI/AIIM Standards for microfilm preservation and we only use archival-quality 35mm Silver Halide produced in our FujiFilm Certified Lab for true 500+ year preservation!


We give community newspapers a clear Advantage! Publishers partnering with Advantage will be working with a team that has over 50 years combined experience in the newspaper microfilm and digital archive industry. We meet or exceed all ANSI/AIIM Standards for microfilm preservation. The Microfilming will be done at no cost to our publishing partners. The only cost you will have is shipping the papers to our facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Your master negative copy can be stored in our secure facility at no additional charge.

The Advantage team has been closely monitoring the painful condition and trends in the budgets of our state governments… and we are extremely conscious of the fact that one of the hardest hit areas has been in newspaper and historical preservation services in state libraries.  The cuts have been deep, and in many cases, these institutions have been left behind. We work closely with these institutions to find affordable or alternative funding solutions to overcome these challenges.

Advantage is extremely proud of the unique relationship we have with the state libraries and historical societies across the county. We have provided these institutions a comprehensive solution tailored to their individual needs, ranging from preservation microfilming, archival microfilm storage, digitization, microfilm duplication, up to and including storing several thousand historical bound volumes of newspapers and other historical documents.

In addition to the educational applications of our historical newspaper archives and yearbook scanning, and university microfilm and document collection, we offer educational institutions a solution for more “modern” problems as well. Institutions of all sizes, public and private, are burdened with more paperwork than ever before. Dealing with paper-based business processes while struggling to comply with regulations such as NCLB, FERPA and HIPAA is tough for any administrator. Converting paper and microfilm student files (e.g. attendance documents, report cards, transcripts) to secure digital files can help your organization provide instant record access from any education system.

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