Libraries, Museums & Historical Societies

The Advantage Archives’ team has been partnering with Libraries, Colleges, and Historical Societies to preserve their local history one community at a time. We take great pride in our mission to preserve the past, make it accessible in the present, and ensure its future. It all starts with converting local historical newspapers, pictures, books, maps, and other documents onto 35mm Silver Halide Microfilm, and provide practical digital access to the content that was previously available only in a limited format. It is critical to protect the valuable printed material from the ravages of time. Equally important is the ability of our communities to connect to their past through digital access.

Through a collaborative approach, we will partner with your institution, your local publisher, and other like-minded individuals in your community, to ensure that the “first rough draft of history” is both archived AND accessible, with our microfilm and digital offerings.

Our Community History Archives give your library the tools to provide access to the rich history of your community, printed in the newspapers and other records and documents of the day. These pages, when stitched together, tell the story of the people, places, and events that shaped your community. Your library can then offer a “portal to the past,” allowing those primary source documents to give an accounting of history as told by the individuals that witnessed it. Together we put history at the fingertips of anyone interested. With the Community History Archive, we connect the members of the community to their past in a very tangible and meaningful way.

Microfilm Subscriptions

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a few local historians and government types but, more and more, citizens are recognizing the importance of preserving historical documents for the long term and making them accessible to anyone, anywhere.

Subscriptions to newspaper microfilm from Advantage Archives can be as much as 40% less than you are currently paying to your current vendor.  We partner with several libraries and historical societies on microfilming and preserving their historical documents, and they have become close friends over the years. We understand the challenges.  We know the budgets you face, and with Advantage, you will receive high-quality film at a significantly reduced price compared to other service providers. We produce the microfilm in the United States, and original materials will never leave our secure facility. There are no long term contracts to sign.  We are very confident that you will be satisfied with our service.

  • We offer digital access to the content on the microfilm, allowing your organization to store those reels for preservation purposes and ensuring history is not only preserved for future generations but also easily accessible to the current one.
  • We will work with you and your community’s publisher to find a solution that satisfies all parties, complies with all copyright laws, and respects the intellectual property of the rights holder.
  • We will produce your microfilm in a timely fashion after receiving the newspapers, and if there is a delay for any reason (missing issues, ect.), a notification will be immediate.
  • Our internal microfilm standards exceed ANSI/AIIM standards for microfilm preservation.
  • Microfilm subscriptions from Advantage are often significantly less than our competitors

The Community History Archives

At Advantage Archives, we understand that preservation is only 1/2 of the equation. You need to consider accessibility to your preserved content. Advantage offers a user-friendly digital solution to research your materials via our  Community History Archive hosted solution. After we digitize the newspaper pages, we OCR (Optical Character Recognition), index, and organize the images on a portal where your patrons can browse, search, view, clip, and share articles and pages from your community’s history.

Researchers and Genealogists that visit your institution can save time by searching through your database by name, date range, keywords, etc…without the expense of purchasing or upkeep of a microfilm reader. Hundreds of the communities we work with from coast to coast,  feel the same way. They have embraced viewing their community’s history through the lens of those who witnessed it.

Partnering With Communities To Provide A "Portal To The Past"

Historical newspapers and documents provide the first draft of our community’s history, and they not only need to be preserved but made easily accessible. You might be evaluating the advantages of digitizing as a practical means of accessing content on microfilm. We have received this question asked by library directors many times. The answers vary from one community to another to some degree. Still, the deciding factors in the decision-making process often come down to: It will save time, improve research accuracy, protect the preservation copy, save money on physical replacements, & creating a valuable community asset.

Advantage Archives developed The Community History Archives to be powerful but not intimidating. They are user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to learn. Advantage has focused on making the online archives as simple as possible so that everyone, from students to grandparents (and anyone in between), can browse, search, view, clip, and share articles, headlines, pages, and stories recorded in the pages of the community newspaper. Just type a search and hit “enter” or browse to a specific year, month, day, or page in any (or all) publications contained in the archive.

The platform serves as a “portal to the past,” allowing those primary source documents to give an accounting of history as told by the individuals that witnessed it. When we stitch the pages together, the archives connect us to the people, places, and events that have shaped the community.

We scan the newspaper microfilm in the manner best suited to providing volume and cost-effectiveness while retaining an image quality that allows for the highest return on text queries. The Advantage scanning process accurately renders the content of the original newspaper if the source material concerning its completeness, appearance of the original text, and the correct sequence of pages. The reproduction of photographs and accurate tonality is not the intent of this process but available if funding allows for it.

Newspaper microfilm will only be scanned for access, not as a preservation method in keeping with the Advantage philosophy that digitization is an enhancement to make the content more practically accessible, and not as an archival solution. The original microfilmed newspapers will remain the preservation copy after scanning.

Upon completion of your archive, our team will provide you with access to tracking tools so you can track the usage of your database for your end of the year reporting. Our team will continue to improve and update your database as technology changes.

Our approach results in a keyword-searchable Community History Archive, providing a high return rate on keywords, a browse-able index, online (or in-house) availability, and the tools to explore, discover and share content in ways not possible when it only existed as microfilm. We offer this at per image cost that allows the creation of an archive within almost any budget.

Spotlighting A Few Of Our Library Partners:

CHA PartnersCommunity History ArchivesDigitization PartnersIowaJeff BrownSpotlight
February 12, 2020

Spotlight: The Elkader Public Library (Iowa)

Read All About It: The Elkader Public LibraryBy: Justin Cook - Advantage Archives Advantage is proud to Partner with the Elkader Public Library, giving the library's patrons an easier way...
CHA PartnersCommunity History ArchivesDigitization PartnersIllinoisMichelle MaltasSpotlight
February 5, 2020

Spotlight: Hinsdale Public Library (Illinois)

Read All About It: The Hinsdale Public LibraryBy: Justin Cook - Advantage Archives The Hinsdale Public Library gives patrons easier access to local history with their Community History Archive, featuring...
CHA PartnersCommunity History ArchivesDigitization PartnersIllinoisMichelle MaltasSpotlight
January 29, 2020

Spotlight: Moline Public Library (Illinois)

Read All About It: The Moline Public LibraryBy: Justin Cook - Advantage Archives The Moline Public Library digitizes Historic Moline newspapers from 1850 to 1969 to give the local community...
CHA PartnersCommunity History ArchivesDigitization PartnersIllinoisMichelle MaltasSpotlight
January 22, 2020

Spotlight: Illinois Prairie District Public Library

Read All About It: The Illinois Prairie District Public LibraryBy: Justin Cook - Advantage Archives Illinois Prairie District Public Library gives access to local history dating as far back as...

Looking For A New Partner? Do Your Homework!

We have had many recent conversations with librarians, newspaper publishers, and state entities who are deeply concerned with their current microfilm preservation companies. Several institutions have also been subject to an interruption in service when a large national microfilm provider recently ceased operations. There are many individuals just like you, searching for websites just like this, trying to figure out what their options are.

There is understandable stress when selecting a new vendor. Consideration must be given to preservation budgets, about providing excellent and current resources to your patrons, and ultimately about the preservation of your community’s history. Here are four questions that you should consider asking of a potential preservation vendor (and from your newspaper’s publisher, as they ultimately choose a vendor).

How well do you understand the needs of our library and community?

Can you preserve and provide practical access to all of the newspaper titles printed in our community? Will you make recommendations as to the best research experience for that content? Will 0ur account manager take an interest in my community’s history? Will you consult with us on best practices for storing and viewing our film? Do you understand which documents are essential to our community, and advise us on how to make them widely accessible to our patrons?

Are you a “vendor,” a “service provider,” or a collaborative partner?

Can you tell me how you plan to collaborate with us to understand, develop, and execute on preservation and access strategy? Are you selling a product, a service, or a commodity, or are you taking a role as a partner that will work with us towards a common goal? How can I be sure if you will make the right partner? How do I know that you won’t prioritize your company’s strategic goals and profits ahead of our needs or our budget? How can you assure me that I have evaluated the proper comprehensive solution, and I am not just subscribing to a service or tool?  Will you look at custom preservation and access strategies that fit our exact situation, or do you offer a “one size fits all” approach?

Do you have a digital offering to complement our preservation efforts?

Do you have the knowledge to help build a digital archive? Can you explain the benefits and shortcomings of digitization of our records, and how will we know when microfilm is a better option than digital, and vice-versa? What is your role after the archive has been built?

Can you help with other projects?  

Can you assist in preserving and providing access to other historical records such as directories, yearbooks, maps, and my community’s other historical documents? Will you help build a preservation program to protect and provide practical access to our old records, genealogy books, or anything else that might be of interest to our community?

What are your microfilming quality standards?  

Do you understand that adequately preserving a newspaper (and the other documents that tell the story of our community’s past) requires care and precision? Do you exclusively capture papers and documents to 35mm silver-halide master microfilm for 500-year preservation? Do you strictly adhere to ANSI and AIIM standards? Do you audit the density, reduction ratios, and clarity of your film? Can you provide details as to your quality control process? Will you keep me informed as to where and under what conditions our film is being created? Can you provide me with a sample?

How will my master microfilm be stored?

Can you tell me about your microfilm storage facility? How can I be assured my microfilm masters are appropriately stored in a humidity-and-temperature controlled environment? Are duplications made this master microfilm, or will you be using our service copy that may inherit any issues with clarity and readability? Do you offer any auditing services for my collection? What environmental testing do you do to address the problems like containment mitigation, air quality, and isolation of “at-risk” film from contagious conditions like vinegar syndrome or redox?

Are your prices fair?  

No follow up questions needed, you will know.

If you do not feel your current provider can or is willing to answer the questions above, or you suddenly find yourself without a provider…we would like you to know that there is an alternative. We built Advantage Preservation specifically to address the deficiencies in the industry. We came together from different areas in the preservation and newspaper publishing communities because we are not happy with how publishers and libraries are currently being treated. We have designed a preservation solution with clear and open answers to all the above questions. Our dedication to quality and a focus on marketing your history, our program is designed to care for newspaper publishers and libraries equally.

Please remember to contact your current vendor to make sure they are taking care of your history

Solutions We Offer

Whether your document is a day old or 200 years old, we have the technology, experience, and expertise to provide your library, historical societies, museums, and other institutions, with archiving and access options. We design our solutions to fit your institution’s unique needs and budget restrictions. We specialize in Document Imaging, Preservation Microfilming Services, Microform Scanning, Digital Archive Hosting, and Document Management Solutions. We partner with libraries & historical societies just like yours to preserve their community’s past, make accessible in the present, and available in the future.

Preservation Microfilming Services

The history recorded in the documents from communities across the country is invaluable. Newspapers, atlases, almanacs, personal journals, directories, government documents, and even yearbooks can put historical events in perspective and allow us to view those events through the lens of someone who was there and witnessed “history as it happened.” It also allows us to connect to our past in a real and tangible way. This cultural asset must be protected and preserved so future generations can have access to the documents that would otherwise be lost to the erosion of time if they remained on fragile paper. The only true way to ensure its survival is through microfilming.

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Digital Archive Hosting

A digital archive allows you to give your historical documents a new life, and give your community an easy-to-use resource, by converting your local newspaper microfilm, and other historical documents, to a fully-searchable digital archive. The Community History Archives serve as a practical means to explore and discover content that was not easily accessible before. Preserving the historical content on microfilm ensures that the “first rough draft of history” is available for future generations. Using digitization as a supplement (not a replacement) to your long term archival strategy, it opens up an authentic way for the members of your community to connect with their history.

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Document Imaging

The content contained on paper documents give a firsthand account and informs our perspective of history, that shaped not only your community, but also your state, and the nation from a local perspective. Although historical newspaper imaging is our specialty, we have an equal passion for all historical documents, including vital records, family bibles, transcripts, journals, and more. All documents and fragile papers are evaluated and processed to assure proper care and accurate conversion. Our experience covers a broad range of document types from a few days, a few years, or even 300 years ago. All phases of the archival document imaging process, such as preparation, document scanning, document indexing, 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 and preservation methodologies.

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Information Management Solutions

Historical preservation is far from our only area of expertise! Our dedicated commercial document imaging solution division AdvantageIMS provides solutions for documents critical to your business or organization. Archiving and retrieving information may not be your core competency. It is ours. We provide solutions tailored to your specific requirements. Advantage Archives’ commercial division has provided document management solutions for many years. We pride ourselves on our understanding of business documents and their impact on your bottom line. We listen to your needs and requirements and design a solution specific to your company and its’ clients.

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More Markets We Serve

We truly value our long-standing partnerships with libraries and publishers in communities across the United States. We have been privileged to help them preserve and provide online access to their community’s history. We are pleased that they share our mission to ensure that documents from the past are accessible in the present and available in the future. We also work with museums, historical societies, genealogical societies, colleges, universities, and more, to provide Document Imaging, Preservation Microfilming Services, Microform Scanning, Digital Archive Hosting, and Document Management Solutions.

Newspaper Publishers

Newspaper publishers have recorded their community’s “first draft of history” every day. We preserve that history, on microfilm, and partner with the publisher to make that protected content widely available to interested libraries and institutions in their community and beyond. Our processes meet or exceed all ANSI/AIIM Standards for microfilm preservation at no cost to our qualifying publishing partners. Qualifying publishers will also enjoy a revenue-sharing opportunity on the content sold on a subscription basis to the interested libraries. We also store the negative master copy at no additional charge in our state of the art vault under the publisher’s ownership. We are merely the custodian of the publisher’s intellectual property.

Government Agencies

The Advantage team has been closely monitoring the painful condition and trends in the budgets of state governments across the country. We are conscious of the fact that one of the hardest-hit areas over the past several years has been in document imaging and historical document preservation services. The cuts impact our government libraries, historical societies, archives, & other agencies. Often the cuts have been profound, and in many cases, these institutions have been under funded or no longer receive funding at all. We have developed several service offerings and solutions in the wake of the ongoing budget cuts and resource allocations, and many provided at no cost to the state or its taxpayers.

Educational Institutions

Advantage Archives has been working with educational institutions of all sizes, public and private, for many years, and we understand the importance of the services they provide their students, their community, their state, and beyond. We have partnered with these college & university libraries, K-12 schools, & other educational institutions to provide subscriptions to newspapers on microfilm, preservation microfilming services, digital access solutions, and much, much more. We also recognize administration is 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 resource-intensive. Our document scanning and conversion solutions for educational institutions can help reduce costs, improve staff productivity, and provide superior service to departments, faculty, students, and parents.

Commercial Markets

Historical preservation is far from our only area of expertise! Our dedicated commercial document imaging solution division AdvantageIMS provides solutions to industries and government agencies everywhere. Businesses large and small value their partnership with Advantage, as much as we value ours with them. Archiving and retrieving information may not be your core competency, but it is ours. We provide solutions tailored to your industries, including hospitals, universities, law firms, manufacturing companies, research firms, transportation, and any other business that generates paperwork. Advantage’s commercial division has provided document management solutions for many years. We pride ourselves on our understanding of business documents and their impact on your bottom line. We listen to your needs and requirements and design a solution specific to your company and its’ clients.

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Connect Your Community To Its History! Explore A Partnership With Advantage & Discover “History As it Happened “. Use the form below to connect with us, and let’s discuss ways we can ensure your local history is easily accessible!