PastView Blog

Find out more about Digital Access & Discovery


PastView is perfect for your... Digitised 3D Collections!

Written by Jess Sturman-Coombs
November 7, 2023 at 10:00 AM

Try PastView for FREE (30 day free trial):


3D Collections are a wonderful material to be found within the archives; a special historical material made up of objects that people typically want to handle and view. They tell us so much about the past, about traditions and fashions and ways of thinking and being, but they are also subject to significant damage and potential loss through wear and tear. Difficult to store, they require their own space and demand specific climate and housing conditions to remain safe and protected. Thankfully, digitisation resolves the majority of these issues, protecting your 3D material and making it more accessible.  


Where does PastView come in?

The PastView publishing platform was created with the sole intention of promoting discovery and acess of 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 offers a wide range of clever and engaging features that audiences love. Ideal for your 3D collections, we would recommend the following:




Object Viewer

Using specialist imaging techniques, you can offer your users an experience that enables them to turn your digitised objects through a full 360 degrees in a way physical displays simply do not allow. Items are often fragile and the handling of them is restricted. However, through PastView’s 360 Object Viewer, it is possible to turn items from left to right, to rotate, spin, or zoom in on them. Through the assignment of attributes, titles and descriptions, objects are incorporated into your digital collection as fully searchable artefacts.



An item is an individual file that has either been born-digital or has been digitised. This item could be the page of a book, a 35mm slide, a plan, a photo, a glass plate, or an image of your 3D object. All of these items are then individually organised into collections of your choosing. Grouping items together by the assigning of attributes (and assigning them to attribute sets) enables them to be filtered into categories and subcategories. This is what informs your searchable structure, enhancing discovery and access.


Related Entities

The related entities feature enables you to establish a relationship between your 3D items, connecting and reconnecting them, web-like, within and across your collections. This enables them to be accessed through numerous pathways which, when followed, aid and enhance discovery and access. Related entities aim to tie your digitised 3D items together through shared characteristics, so they don’t become isolated within your collections, increasing collection flexibility and broadening your users’ search results.


 Related Collections

Through related collections, you can feature your 3D items 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 ‘date’ and a collection structure for ‘location’, you can more easily broaden the pathways through your collection to any specific 3D item, making your objects more accessible and increasing their chances of discovery. By highlighting related collections alongside search results, your users will be offered further direction for their research and perhaps content they might otherwise have missed.



Archives often lend themselves perfectly to the provision of an online shop, enabling users to add items, even 3D items, to their online basket where they can edit quantities, and checkout securely. The inclusion of an online shop offers a secure payment method, so your user's personal details are protected at all times, offering peace of mind and a stress-free shopping experience for everyone. Visitors will love being able to own selected items from your collections and you will benefit from a more financially self-sufficient archive.   


IMECHE: No angle left unturned with Object Viewer!

Find out how the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE) are sharing their incredible 3D objects through PastView. Object Viewer enables the manipulation of their many items, going beyond what can be achieved through physical exhibitions and display cabinets alone.

Prepare to engage, virtually handle, and discover much more with IMECHE:

Learn more about IMECHEs' objects in action:



If you would like to see how PastView can work for your digitised 3D 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.