PastView Blog

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PastView is perfect for your... Digitised Bound Volumes!

Written by Jess Sturman-Coombs
March 7, 2023 at 9:36 AM

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Bound volumes are a common material found within most archive collections. These could be burial registers, guard books, journals, diaries, magazines or newspapers, or it could be that an archive consists of a combination of all of these different types of items.

Whatever form they take, bound volumes present a number of issues, and are vulnerable to a range of potential risks in their original, physical format. Regular handling, or any degree of handling, can cause wear and tear, which can present as damage to the spine and/or the pages. Often very large and heavy, lifting can easily result in accidental dropping or injury to members of staff. They are also notoriously difficult to store, ideally being shelved off of the ground, completely flat, and not resting on top of one another.

Climate can also present risks through damp and mould, which can cause pages to become stuck together. Age often results in some degree of fading, making the pages unreadable over time, and the content can be lost in other ways too, such as through disaster or theft.

However, there are solutions, digitisation being the most obvious and effective. In digital format, the above issues are immediately resolved and your bound volumes suddenly become more easily accessible.


Where does PastView come in?

The PastView platform was created with the sole intention of promoting access and discovery for heritage archives. PastView promises to offer a no-nonsense solution to the management and publishing of digitised and born-digital collections, and it is the platform of choice for many heritage organisations

PastView is perfect for bound volume collections, offering a range of clever and engaging features that audiences love. Ideal for bound items, we would recommend the following: 




3D page turning 

Offering a smooth, elegant ‘real feel’ digital interaction that mimics, yet enhances, the physical reading experience, BookExplorer’s 3D technology brings your content to life. The pages of your bound volumes can be turned easily by clicking and dragging the cursor on a PC, or sliding a finger across the screen of a tablet, mobile or touchscreen device. When combined with item Optical Character Recognition (OCR), 3D Page Turning facilities deep searches within and across your bound volume collections, opening up greater accessibility. Perfect for fragile or otherwise inaccessible volumes, this feature takes readers beyond  the glass cabinet displays and vault doors that have been the common barriers to those delicate and rare archives they are so eager to discover and explore.


Related Collections

Through Related Collections you can feature your bound volumes across multiple collections to increase opportunities for finding them. By creating more than one collection structure for the very same content, for example a collection structure for ‘year’ and a collection structure for ‘topic’, means that you can more easily broaden the pathways through your collection to specific items, making them more accessible and increasing their chance of discovery. By highlighting ‘related collections’ alongside search results, your users will be offered further direction for their research, and perhaps even content they might otherwise have missed.


 Item Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) makes the information within your bound journal collections more accessible by enabling the instant retrieval of content and items from within your archive, wherever it matches a set of given words and/or phrases. OCR can be carried out during or after digitisation using OCR software. This scans your JPEG and TIFF images, converting any typed or printed text within them to machine readable digital text. The OCR’d text is then added as metadata when your digital bound volumes are imported to PastView, correlating images with associated data to enable keyword searching to be performed. 


Site Search

When researching your bound volumes you will want your users to be able to easily and quickly search across your entire  collection, drilling down the results to exactly what they are looking for. Our site search is a comprehensive facility powered by attributes, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and transcription (including Audio transcription), all of which work together to gather content that can be narrowed down through filters, revealing the most accurate and relevant results.   



It costs a lot of money to protect, manage, and maintain heritage archives, not to mention the growing overheads related to the housing and displaying of them. Consequently, opportunities to generate revenue are not only helpful but are financially prudent too. Paid online subscriptions are an increasingly popular method for generating long-term income from your bound volume collections. They enable you to segregate your content and determine what you would like to make freely accessible and what you would like to make available on a more selective basis. Subscriptions are popular with genealogy data publishers and military record holders, but really are of benefit to anyone who would like to make their archive more self-sufficient.


Société Jersiaise - Sharing the famous Chronique de Jersey newspapers online!

Find out how the Société Jersiaise are sharing their bound book collections of the famous Chronique de Jersey newspapers thanks to PastView. Browse the volumes, keyword search the entire contents, and flick through the pages, zooming in to access and discover much historical and Jersey related news. Learn more about the project in our Société Jersiaise blog.

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.



If you would like to see how PastView can work for your own bound book collections then sign up to the PastView Playground and try it out for size. Just upload a few items from your archive, select the options and features, and see how PastView could look for you: