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Société Jersiaise's digital collections are now online!

Written by Jess Sturman-Coombs
October 20, 2022 at 11:51 AM



Société Jersiaise publish their rich and varied archive collections online with PastView

Founded in 1873 by Jersey islanders, with an unwavering commitment in the country’s history, language and antiquities, the Société Jersiaise quickly grew, attracting new members internationally, and successfully recording and safeguarding the island’s history. 

The Société Jersiaise has dedicated its work to the memory and preservation of Jersey’s rich past, protecting its unique identity and physical assets. The society has even gone as far as to purchase archaeological sites, set up a library, and establish a museum, which was extended in 1977 to accommodate their ever-growing collection.


Société Jersiaise's four main objectives for online access:

The Société Jersiaise have incredible plans for their archive and were looking to achieve four main objectives through the PastView publishing platform:

  • Safeguard content through a trusted digital repository capable of managing their entire, significantly diverse collection.
  • Provide a freely and equally accessible online resource for their users, wherever they might be in the world, that would effectively support research into the island’s history. 
  • Create opportunities for a more forward facing resource to showcase current work; sharing news, celebrating heritage, and documenting important community projects.
  • Launching this new online repository to coincide with the release of their newly updated website and in time for their 150th Anniversary next year. 


Look out for our short documentary below to hear what Société Jersiaise had to say about their journey to online access. You can also see the beautiful island of Jersey for yourself!


Safeguarding a diverse collection

Visitors will find an eclectic archive collection, much of which has been secured thanks to generous gifts and bequests over the years. These items can be browsed and searched at leisure, and include collections such as: the famous Chronique de Jersey newspapers from 1810 – 1959; annual bulletins (volumes 1-29, with later ones due to be added in the coming year); maps of the Channel Islands and Harbours; books; fold-outs and journals; photographic and botanical albums; and a wide range of wonderful photographs - including everything from early colour photos and harbour works to a student archive. 


A freely and equally accessible online resource

With PastView, Société Jersiaise found they were able to organise and showcase their collections online through 'Collections', ‘Sub Collections’, ‘Featured Collections’ and ‘Latest Projects’, as well as through a comprehensive filtered search consisting of 38,365 items, and counting. For the society, it was important that they be able to offer online access to their items, making them as widely available as possible. Now, thousands of items are just a few key strikes away. This was especially important for their more delicate items, such as their unique and historical newspaper collection, a collection that offers, “a deep social record” not just of benefit to the island’s community, but for all communities existing well beyond Jersey’s shores. 


Showcasing and documenting community outreach work 

Currently working on an outreach programme with local schools to foster and encouraging an interest in photography and archiving, Société Jersiaise were looking to launch a mini-archive to document their outreach work across the island. This exciting school project looks to introduce photography as a means of harnessing identity and community and they have already uploaded work created by their first cohort of pupils. Visitors will find a selection of wonderful photos to mark this valuable and socially impactful project and will thoroughly enjoy seeing this community driven aspect of the archive evolve and grow over time.


A triple celebration!

As if granting public access to their wonderful archive wasn't enough reason to celebrate, this coincides with the launch of their newly updated website and their 150th Anniversary next year. It's a triple celebration! Hear what Société Jersiaise had to say about the digitisation of their collections and their publishing experience with PastView in our short documentary. Sit back and enjoy a journey to the stunning island of Jersey.



You can discover this gem of an archive right here:


The value of any collection is only ever fully realised when its contents are accessible, so we needed a user-friendly platform that did not sacrifice the needs of serious research. We needed a way to showcase the breadth and depth of our collections in an attractive way that offered powerful, customisable search options when users required them. With PastView, we have been able to upload our historical maps, early photographs, newspapers and bulletins onto a platform that ensures each collection is as accessible as the next.

Gerard Sargent
Digitisation & Outreach Co-ordinator



If you have any questions or feedback about this project, or you would like to discuss the digitisation and publishing of your own archive, then please do get in touch. We would love to talk to you. 

Best wishes from TownsWeb Archiving and PastView