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PastView partners with The Western Front Association to preserve Great War history

Written by Elsie Flynn
November 2, 2023 at 9:00 AM



PastView is proud to announce its partnership with The Western Front Association (WFA), a non-political organisation established in 1980, in their shared mission to preserve the memory, courage, and camaraderie of those who served in the Great War from 1914 to 1918.

The WFA provides a wealth of benefits to its members, including the opportunity to delve into thousands of digitised collections in relation to the Great War, to enjoy engaging in friendly discussions with like-minded members, and to receive publications six times a year, including the highly regarded journal, Stand To!, which features previously unpublished accounts and original research of the Great War.




Prioritising accessibility to unleash the true potential of collections

Prior to our partnership, the WFA hosted its large collection of publications on its main website. However, the lack of a search function limited the accessibility and potential of their publication history, with members having to sift through over 40 years of publications to find specific information. Realising the need for improved searchability, the WFA decided to partner with PastView to unlock the true potential of the archives.

Now, with the launch of the new PastView website, the archive and invaluable insights into the Great War are more accessible than ever, truly supporting the WFA’s mission of keeping the memory of this significant period alive.




So what's new with PastView?

PastView provided the WFA with the opportunity to ingest their collection, making it easily searchable for their members and providing a user-friendly browsing experience. On the new PastView website, WFA members can explore a variety of publications at their fingertips, including Stand To!, Gun Fire, RND Magazine, Fire Step, and Military Fact Sheets. Each and every one of these publications has been meticulously imported by PastView and included over 373 issues with over 40,000 pages. As such, this move has brought value to older publications that may have been overlooked for some time.


The exciting PastView features utilised 

The Western Front Association now benefits from a range of new features which have been seamlessly integrated into their new website. These include...

  • Single Sign-On (SSO): This crucial feature allowed the WFA to move their membership database from the previous website to the new PastView site effortlessly, ensuring no loss of data. SSO is especially valuable for organisations like the WFA, who want selective access for members while restricting public access. 

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): PastView's very own inbuilt Text Recognition Service, supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR), revolutionising the search capabilities within the WFA's collections. Now, all typed text found within archived images are stored against each item as a permanent record. This allows users to quickly and easily search for specific content within a document on the website, rather than relying on traditional search methods (such as using dates or names). 

  • BookExplorer: This feature breathes life into collections, even through a screen. With the BookExplorer feature on PastView, pages can be turned smoothly and elegantly with a simple click/swipe, providing a user experience that closely resembles handling physical documents in the flesh. 


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A look to the future

To ensure a seamless transition, PastView is committed to providing comprehensive training to the WFA and empowering the association to fully utilise the new website and its functionalities, opening up endless possibilities for the future of the archive. In addition to unlocking this vast wealth of information, the website supports the WFA's main site and has the potential to attract new members.

Join us in wishing huge congratulations and expressing immense gratitude to The Western Front Association for ensuring that the memory of the Great War lives on. They have provided a platform for learning, sharing, and exploring the rich history of this significant period.