From the Des Moines Register:
The state is loaning its 12 million pages to Advantage and retains ownership of the physical papers, microfilm and digital images. Advantage bears the cost of scanning and digitizing in exchange for potential profit.
A relationship between the state and Advantage already had been established with previous work. The company houses 32,000 reels of the state’s newspaper microfilm (the majority of 44,000 total reels) in its climate-controlled vault in Cedar Rapids.
Advantage also already has digitized nearly 15 million Iowa newspaper pages across 140 individual collections. About 3.5 million of those pages are in the public domain, while another 2 or 3 million have been made available through agreements with publishers.
But Advantage’s newspaper preservation has catered to libraries storing microfilm — not the web-surfing public at large. A search portal for a mass online audience and the robust customer relations to support it weren’t part of its initial business plan.
The online search function that Advantage still uses today was meant as nothing more than a makeshift digital solution for libraries’ in-house computer terminals