Imperial War Museum

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by Noel Burgess, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    According to today's London Evening Standard, page 2:

    " War Museum to bring in charge to view archives"

    The Imperial War Museum is to introduce a charge for accessing its archives in the face of Government Cuts.

    The scale of the charge is yet to be agreed but will be "nominal", the museum said in a statement.

    Access to the research room, where documents, sound archive, digital resources and the war artists' archive are available, will also be cut from five days to four.".....

    The Times today reported the charge for the archives could be as high as £14. It will still be free to access the room containing lives of the First World War and all the popular reference books."

    Not the full article, but there it is.

    Must recover with a cup of tea made with a 2p teabag and charge myself a nominal £3.50 for a third of a pint of boiling tap-water ( which will be hotter and fresher than any cup of tea sold at Kew or the IWM. )
    Swiper likes this.
  2. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    There is a head of steam building in academe. Say, for example, you are teaching military history north of Watford, especially for higher degrees, and you expect those under your supervision to use the facilities of the IWM in their research? Factor in all the other costs and this disgraceful rate is going to make it prohibitive. Hell, I live in London and £14 per day for a four day week is making ME sweat (oh, and 'closed at lunchtime').

    I've said it before and will say it again - if not stopped this is the first domino.
  3. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Entire collection should be shunted off to The National Archives. End of.

    I am not totally full of melodramatic zeal when I mumble 'disband the entire IWM group.'

    Even within the Tube you still piss money away attending the IWM by public transport, oddly enough I've gone all over the UK for research (like most of us) and noted that many are no longer researching properly due to prohibitive costs. Add in the IWM's money pinching on commercial fees and we will see a very rapid stagnation of new material. It also partially explains why there are so many older reprints coming out being passed off as new.

    Also don't forget Phil, the buggers will charge you for copying (no more than 10% of a book) and decry the use of cameras...
  4. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Just been on the Imerpial War Museum website to see the format has been changed.

    I would like to hear what others think about the new website. I think it is a bit clunky, probably a new exec wants to make their mark and this is it, by changing the website.

    If the IWM spent more time scanning photographs in their collection as well as putting up the recordings on their website would be helpful. Considering everything that has gone on at IWM with the new set up at the museum, an uncommunitive research service and some exec trying to sell off the library; my question is Was it broken? Did it need fixing?


    P.S. Hope there is a classic button.
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Glad to see that all my old links to various collections and files still work, at least for now. Yes, it is always a nuisance to have to re-navigate and find your way around a newly designed site, I had to use the site map to locate the research function etc.

    No-one likes change, but I do wonder if the IWM have lost their way right now and are struggling to find themselves and what they want to be and deliver. Only time will tell.
    brithm likes this.
  6. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    It might be because I don't use the IWM website often but I stumbled across the new version late last week while looking up photos, and I have to say I quite like it. I have only been dealing with the collections so can't comment about the rest of the site.
    brithm likes this.
  7. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I always thought it was quite a nicely done website before.
    I only really use collections, and though readjusting to something so familiar is irksome I haven't used the new style enough to comment yet.

    Something I don't like is that they're apparently adopting the Buzzfeed click-bait list style of article heading. 'Five things...' 'Ten amazing...' etc.
    It's a slippery slope to the more awful 'You'll never believe what happens next...'.
    Can't really blame 'em, as doubtless it works, but it does set my eye twitching a little.
    brithm likes this.
  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Thanks for drawing my attention to the new website format.

    I've had a quick look at the details regarding my Army Album and am quite happy with the layout:

    I would be much obliged if anyone visiting the Library and who is rash enough to ask to see my brainchild then comes back to this thread to let me know of their experience .

    brithm likes this.
  10. gaspirator

    gaspirator Member

    As a web designer/developer myself, I think the IWM site redesign is to do with accessibility of the site across different size devices such as tablets and smartphones.

    I personally love to pack a webpage with as much info as possible and make it look 'busy', but the way forward is the minimal design that you see with the IWM and the BBC websites. I'm currently redesigning my own site along similar lines.

    You used to see on these larger corporate sites an option to view 'mobile site' when using a portable device. This required an alternative website design for small screens. Nowadays, the method is to have a responsive, fluid design that works across all screen sizes as it means you only need to maintain a single design template.

    Attached are screenshots of the IWM site on my laptop, with the browser resized to invoke the fluid design. Note how the images shrink, navigation collapses to the three-bar drop-down and elements stack into a single column. This avoids lateral scrolling, which is fiddley on a phone. You therefore only need to swipe up/down to see the page content. The design also takes touch-screen and swiping motions into account.

    There used to be a time when a full-on eye-catching design was almost as important as the content - fine when everyone accessed your site by laptop or large-screen desktop computer. Now that internet-on-the-go via small devices is the norm, these news designs have become clunky with lots of white space for a reason.

    I'm not a great fan of it, but IWM's site design appears to be nothing more than an attempt to be accessible to a wider audience across multiple platforms, which is what you would hope a museum would do. It probably saves them money and also fulfills a legal requirement for their services to be accessible and usable to as many people as possible, regardless of how they choose to access it.

    At the end of the day, I visit IWM's site to gain information, not to view web design - as long as I can get the info I want efficiently, then the design has worked, even if it doesn't look pretty.

    - Pete

    Attached Files:

    • IWM.jpg
      File size:
      87 KB
    von Poop likes this.
  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I only use Collections and then only for images. The new site has an easier to use search function which can cope with more than one key word. All text is large and clear (good for the average age of those using it perhaps). Easy to download too. May not have NEEDED a change but I like it.

    brithm likes this.
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Collections does still seem to be expanding at quite a rate.
    Every time I visit there appear to be more and more returns for a given search, so, on balance, that's the most important thing.
    (Just found lots of School of Tank Technology Panzer images I don't recall seeing - so I'm hardly disappointed...)

    I did find the sidebar to narrow searches to Media, Period etc. far more intuitive, but I dare say Pete's spot on that it's a mobile/tablet effect laying them out like they have.
    Be nice to have an ability to make such selections more persistent across searches.
    The embedding selections all on one page now is great though. Previous format opened many windows when on the phone, to the extent it was very hard to bore people senseless with pictures of Jagdpanzers while out and about.

    On balance... I sort of love you, IWM collections. I can handle a bit of change but please don't ever go away. :unsure:
    brithm and dbf like this.
  13. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Too much Clickbait.

    Clearly written by people who don't... actually have a clue what they are writing on.

    Take that for example...

    For me the IWM is an increasing anachronism, buoyed by its historical reputation for excellence.
    brithm likes this.
  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    It doesn't seem any worse to me this time around although nowhere near as useful as it was some years ago, at which time it seemed possible to search for photographs by catalogue number and then look for others close. These days, it usually takes me ages to find photos that I know are on there and for which I have the reference.

    We need a "Geoff's Search Engine" for the photo collection !
    brithm likes this.
  15. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    My thoughts entirely and that is how you can search a real Library in real time anyway. I visited the IWM Photo Library a few weeks ago and stumbled across a number of useful images using exactly that technique. Their staff were also brilliant and also the main Index books were so so useful. Will definitely be going again. Now......why can't we search by reference number like we used to?
    brithm likes this.
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I can pick up images using catalogue numbers in the new layout. Try leaving a space between the letters and numbers (CH 13859) and if the search doesn't take you directly to it hit on a 'Collections' choice in the list.

    Regards ...
    brithm likes this.
  17. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Just seen that on the colllections site there is no date tab now only an 'Event' tab which does not allow you to look only for docs, books and photographs of only WWI or WWII etc.
  18. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    IWM survey doing the rounds if you go on to the collections site.

    1.What’s the reason you are searching the IWM collections today?

    2. How often do you use IWM collections search?

    3. What was the topic of your search today?

    4. What type of content were you looking for?

    5. Did you find what you were looking for?

    6. How easy did you find it to use the collections search today?

    7. Do you have any comments?
  19. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    brithm likes this.
  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I can almost visualise my history teacher covering that with his near-inscrutable margin notes in red ink - most of them screaming for more detail and support.
    brithm and Swiper like this.

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