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PastView – digital collections management system

PastView from TownsWeb Archiving is a secure, web-hosted system for managing your digital archives, publishing them online, and turning them into revenue generating assets.

Developed as the successor to our popular ArcView software, it offers a comprehensive 360-degree solution for managing your digital archives.

Key features of the PastView system

PastView is a flexible system for managing digital collections, whether the collection is a newspaper archive, a journal collection or a photo library. Some of the system’s benefits include:

  • Advanced yet simple collections management
  • Access from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Feature-rich content management system
  • Google-style search
  • Intuitive user-friendly interface

Find out more about PastView

To find out more about PastView digital collections management system visit the PastView brochure website.

Recent examples of a PastView installation (please click the images to visit each website):

9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum Archive

9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum archive

Herefordshire History

Herefordshire History

North Lincolnshire Library

North Lincolnshire Library

Royal Photographic Society

Royal Photographic Society

National Jazz Archive

The National Jazz Archive

Merton Library & Heritage Service

Merton Library & Heritage Service

East Dunbartonshire Photo Library

East Dunbartonshite Photo Library

Denbydale & Kirkburton Archive

Denbydale & Kirkburton Archive Collection

Royal Leicestershire Regiment

Royal Leicestershire Regiment

Stocksbridge & District History Society

Stocksbridge & District History Society

Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust Online Photographic Archive

Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust Online Photographic Archive

Sandhurst Military Academy Online Archive

Sandhurst Military Academy Archive

Questions & Answers

Q.  Are your digitised collections stored across multiple mediums – CD’s, DVD’s, Hard Drives, Servers?

A. Move all of your digital files into one location and manage them using PastView, saving you time.

Q. Do you have problems accessing your digital files when you are not in your office or building?

A. Move all of your files on to a secure hosted server and access the files from any location that has an internet browser. You can control who has access to PastView, what level of access they have, and whether or not they have read or write permissions; allowing more flexible working patterns.

Q. Do you have a digitisation strategy?

A. Do you know how to digitise bound or difficult materials and to the correct resolution and file format? Are your collections copyright cleared? Do you know which items might generate the most interest from the public? TownsWeb Archiving Ltd offer an onsite and offsite digitisation service and we will import the digitised files directly into your PastView installation. Our consultants can also offer advice regarding a long term digitisation strategy, making your strategy future proof.

Q. Would it be useful if the metadata held against some files were different to those held against others?

A. For example if you have images of paintings by a certain ‘Artist’ then of course you would like to store the ‘Artist Name’ and perhaps the type of painting; ‘Portrait’, ‘Impressionist’, ‘Contemporary’ etc. However if you have images of newspapers, photographs, journals or movie footage then you will want to store completely different metadata content. PastView allows you to define your own set of metadata for each type of media that you hold, giving you greater flexibility in multimedia repositories.

ArcView & your archive

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ArcView & your customers

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Q. When you digitise new material how easy is it to show this new content on your website?

A. PastView has it’s very own web content management suite. Any new images or changes to metadata can be shown online immediately. You can edit and add content to other pages too. For example, you can change and add a news story to your news pages without  any knowledge of html. Changing content on a monthly basis can give an instant fresh look to your website.

Q. Do you get lots of visitors to your website?

A. Is your site optimised for the search engines (SEO)? Do you send out regular email newsletters encouraging members or previous visitors to check out the new content on your website? PastView allows you to set up SEO options for each of your web pages. Furthermore, TownsWeb Archiving’s web developers can submit your site to search engines and can provide software and training to show you how to store your visitor details and then keep in regular contact with them via great looking email newsletters, potentially increasing your core offering to a wider audience.

Q. Do you have concerns about members of the public downloading content from your website when they shouldn’t be?

A. PastView allows you to watermark images and control the size and resolution of any images that appear on your website, giving you piece of mind and control over your images.

Q. Are there any interesting and unique parts of your collections which members of the public might be willing to pay to gain access?

A. Do you get requests for photographic prints of your images or requests for images at a certain resolution? Do you have any socially rich or genealogy/ancestry content which members of the public or research organisations might be willing to pay an annual subscription to access? TWA PastView allows you to set up different revenue models for each of your different collections. This is a great way to generate income.

Q. Do you have the staff, time, equipment & expertise to handle enquiries and orders for photographic prints?

A. TownsWeb Archiving Ltd work in partnership with you. We can receive orders via your website, process them, print them, despatch them directly to your customer and then pass the revenue on to you. Leaving you to concentrate on your day to day business. This saves you time, money and generates a valuable income stream.


“WLCT have a large collection of historic photographs comprising around 30,000 images in a variety of formats including original prints, glass plates, lantern slides and 35mm negatives. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we were able to get 5,000 images digitised and make them accessible through a website. After a tendering process, we chose TownsWeb Archiving Ltd to digitise the images, provide us with a collections management system, develop a public website where prints could be ordered and handle the orders of prints and despatch them to the customer. TownsWeb Archiving Ltd were unique in their ability to offer specialist scanning, in-house software development and customer fulfilment services.

Through this joint venture with TownsWeb Archiving we are hoping that the public will have better access to their heritage and any revenue generated will help us fund the digitisation of further photographs.  We would certainly recommend TownsWeb Archiving to others.”

Lisa Keys, Exhibition Officer (
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust

“We are putting the archive online as funding permits, so the opportunity to generate income is welcome. Family historians are our biggest market, so the next stage will be to add further records such as personal information sheets and correspondence to fill out the history of individual officers. We are very happy with the services TownsWeb provide in helping us achieve those aims.”

Dr Anthony Morton, Curator (
The Sandhurst Collection


If you would like to see a demonstration of PastView then please feel free to contact us.