Digitization Of Documents, Books, Vital Records, Correspondence & More

Printed, handwritten, and even drawn content contained in city, county, state, personal, and even business documents provide invaluable insight into the people, places, events, and accounts in a “snapshot of time”. Whether your document is a day old, or 200 years old, Advantage has the technology, experience and expertise to provide you with archiving and access options that will fit your institution or organizations specific needs.

Advantage has been providing our partners with archival and access solutions to for records of historical interest, local history, and business records across the United States, and is uniquely positioned to accommodate both preservation and digital access solutions for content contained on paper that is at risk of being lost due to handling and the erosion of time.

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

Advantage has been a valuable partner for the scanning needs of the Linn County Treasurer’s office for many years. Their weekly pickup and delivery of our paperwork is always on time and very dependable. The ease of searching their indexing allows my employees to have immediate access to hundreds of thousands of documents at their fingertips! They are a great company to work with!  ~Sharon Gonzalez –  Linn County Treasurer

Historical Documents

Historical documents contain important clues to our past, and put the events of the past into perspective. Documents of “historical significance” is a subjective concept, as almost any document, journal, yearbook, and even a receipt will tell a story and make a tangible connection to an era gone by. The words and images provide insight into the lives of previous generations. They help us understand history from a personal perspective: How did people interact? What was the attitude of the day? What were common business practices? How much did a loaf of bread cost? Who lived in my old house? When was my town incorporated? What was my grandmother like in high school? What other relatives lived near my uncle’s farm? What was the population of my county when my great grandfather migrated here. Almost anything printed on paper can paint a picture of the way our family, community, business, state, or country existed at almost any time in history. Amongst the most common requests Advantage gets for document conversion projects includes family histories, vital records, deeds, laws, maps, war records, and photographs.

Many government agencies have done a fantastic job in maintaining older governmental records and storing them in appropriate conditions, however public access to these documents remains limited. These include birth records, death certificates, marriage documents, land records, maps, etc. that were often recorded in large permanently bound archival libers.

Today's Documents Available Tomorrow & Beyond

“Documents of historical significance” are also produced today.  Records from county recorders, city councils, legal contracts, business records, and medical records are the valuable historical documents in the future. However unless appropriate steps are taken and handling is minimized, most of these will be lost in the future since they are either printed on paper which has a limited lifespan.

Advantage wants to partner with organizations and institutions to ensure that these documents will survive the passage of time.

Some records need to be converted out of necessity, not for prosperity. These critical documents that are maintained for compliance or for the normal course of business, are as important to your organization as the “documents of historical significance”, and we provide comercial imaging services to city, county, and state government agencies, libraries, newspaper publishers, the healthcare industry, transportation companies, and both public and private business across the country. We work closely with our clients through the entire life-cycle of the project utilizing proven project management methodologies.

Our experience covers a broad range of document types. We scan items as small as credit card receipts or as large as building floor-plans. 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 large assortment of scanners, digital cameras, and other advanced imaging equipment permits us flexibility in our approach, and provides the client with the most cost effective and highest quality deliverable available.

Why Should We Digitize?

Explore A Few Of The More Compelling Reasons To Digitize Your Documents, Newspapers, Microfilm, Business Records, And More

Our Approach

Our successful project management methodologies, preservation, and conversion experience on documents old and new are backed up by outstanding references in government and almost every paper-intensive industry. Methods range from single page processing with manual data entry to high-speed OCR / ICR, forms processing and media conversions. Our web based document hosting affords companies the ability to archive and process data on a real-time basis. Secure access is available to authorized users from any location. We fully administer our sites for backup, software and hardware upgrades, security monitoring, etc.

As with any major project, the key to creating the comfort zone you need to get started is by breaking the many moving parts into smaller, more manageable pieces. Identifying, sorting, organizing, scanning boxes and boxes of paper documents into a logical system easy for all the stakeholders to use is a major undertaking. The basic steps of this process will include some or all of the following:

  • Inventorying of documents that need to be converted
  • Boxing and transportation of required paper documents
  • Preparing documents for scanning (removing staples, paper clips, ragged edges, etc.)
  • Scanning paper documents to agreed upon format
  • Indexing to specifications that make sense for your organization or institution
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to permit easy search on scanned documents
  • Loading indexed, scanned images to a Community History Archive or other document management system
  • Return or destruction of the scanned documents

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. At Advantage we convert fragile archival documents and bound volumes with meticulous professional handling to maintain document integrity. 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.

Document imaging services and document scanning services from Advantage Archives include indexing and online document hosting. We integrate existing databases with files kept in paper, microfilm and microfiche. No service bureau can match our experience and state-of-the-art techniques.

Why Should I Digitize My Documents?

At Advantage we believe there is a solution for any budget, and we will work with your organization or institution to determine how to provide the most affordable, practical, and accessible solution for your documents. We will help you determine what your return on investment in terms of efficiency, preservation, and importance.  Justification for document scanning services may involve many factors; some are easy to quantify in dollars and others that can only be quantified through educated projections. The easiest justification is where research is impractical in its current format, handling of the documents need to be limited due to fragility or the need to preserve, digital records are mandated, or paper volume is so huge that there are literally no alternatives.

Reassignment of experienced personnel to more productive functions is a typical benefit of document imaging and the efficiencies that come from digitization and keyword searchable content. This benefits organizations in tangible ways, as focus can be shifted from inefficient research to focusing on patrons, clients, and other core competencies.

There are also direct cost savings in the time needed to search for paper documents, re-file them, return telephone calls, write letters or e-mails, copy or fax information. Finally, there are costs that are much easier to quantify. These include the direct costs of clerical support and overheads including supervision.  It is also relatively easy to determine the cost of cabinets, filing folders, floor space, heat, light, cleaning, copying, warehousing, etc. Somewhat more ambiguous are related costs that might include the cost of recreating vital documents, higher audit expense, pressure to respond to governmental inquiries and situations where large amounts of manpower are needed for one-time research.

Spotlighting a few of our partners:

March 30, 2021

Spotlight: Greene County’s Digital Archives

Read All About It:The Community History Archives Of Greene County, Iowa Jeffrey Kiley - Advantage Archives The Greene County Librarians Association has made researching Greene County’s history easy! Their Community...
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...

Additional 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. Our solutions are designed to fit your institution’s unique needs and budget restrictions. We specialize in Document ImagingPreservation 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 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.

Learn More

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 historic 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 a very real way for the members of your community to connect with their history.

Learn More

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 equal passion for all historic 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.

Learn More

Information Management Solutions

Historical preservation is far from our only area of expertise! Our dedicated commercial document imaging solution division AdvantageIMS, is dedicated to providing solutions for more documents critical 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 in 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.

Learn More

The 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, and 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.

Libraries & Historical Societies

The Advantage Preservation 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 work to preserve the past, make it accessible in the present, and ensure its future…..and it all starts with converting local historical newspapers and other documents onto 35mm Silver Halide Microfilm, It is critical to protect the valuable printed content, from the ravages of time. Our internal microfilm standards exceed ANSI/AIIM standards for microfilm preservation.

Newspaper Publishers

Newspaper publishers have recorded their community’s “first draft of history” everyday. We preserve that history, on microfilm, and partner with the publisher to make that preserved 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. The service will be done at no cost to our qualifying publishing partners. The papers will be shipped to our facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they will be handled with care.  Qualifying publishers will also enjoy a revenue sharing opportunity on the content sold on a subscription basis to the interested libraries . The master negative copy can be stored 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 our state governments… and we are extremely conscious of the fact that one of the hardest hit areas over the past several years has been in document imaging and historic document preservation services in our government libraries, historical societies, archives, & other agencies.  Often the cuts have been deep, and in many cases, these institutions have been under funded, or no longer receive funding at all. We have developed several service offering and solutions in the wake of the ongoing budget cuts and resource allocations…many provided at no cost to the state or its tax payers.

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 that the 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 to say he least. 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 is dedicated to providing 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 in 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.


Learn More

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 way’s we can ensure your local history is easily accessible!