Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Changes to Commonwealth War Graves Commission site

This one slightly passed me by, so a huge thanks to military historian and writer Paul Reed, and to David McNay at the Scottish Military Research Group.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission ( is revamping its search interface, but this is not going down well at all in many quarters. The URL for results will change, meaning that if you had a result before, and placed that link onto a site in order to take you to the CWGC site, the link will no longer work. It has also been commented that no additional functionality will result from the change, leaving many to ask quite what the point is.

David has two blog posts on this at and . It seems that the CWGC imposed the new search system without anyone realising, then had to withdraw it for 'technical reasons', so the previous system is currently back in use. They are still however intending to continue with the new search system once the bugs have been ironed out. With regard to external sites such as Geoff's Search Engine (, which offered better search functions for the CWGC database, once the new system is operating, it will no longer work, nor will many other websites with previously established links to the site.

The response from CWGC is that they can basically do what they like, it's their database. So whereas Churchill used to stick two fingers up to signal victory, it appears that the CWGC are just sticking two fingers up at a group of historians who have relied heavily on the site for years and constructed entire projects around it.

Do read David's posts, and if you wish to make your feelings on the matter known, he has provided contact details for those in the frame.

Is it possble that progress can sometimes take the form of one step forward and two steps back?

UPDATE 2 OCT: Learned today from CWGC that new database is not going online again until at least after November 11th, as this is their busiest period.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

No comments: