Welcome to IslandVoices

The need for a sound and moving image archive to house audio and video recordings documenting PEI oral history and folkways (including song and music) was first articulated in a 1988 report commissioned by the Institute of Island Studies (IIS) at the University of Prince Edward Island. The report recommended the UPEI Robertson Library as the location for the proposed audio-visual archive, but this was not pursued at the time. During the early 2000s, IIS Director Harry Baglole approached the Library about reviving the audio-visual archive idea.

The Library began looking at options for pursuing this proposal, and early in 2005 -- with support and encouragement from adopted Islander Sam "the Record Man" Sniderman (1920-2012) -- was able to secure a grant from the AV Preservation Trust to develop a PEI Sound & Moving Archive (PEI SMI -- sometimes referred to as PEI SAMIA) pilot project: PEI SMI saw the archival arrangement and description of several important audio collections, and the digitization of selected samples from these materials.

This early effort was followed in 2010 by the Library's first large-scale audio digitization project: with financial support from the Inukshuk Foundation, the Library digitized hundreds of hours of interviews with PEI senior citizens, recorded by Reg "Dutch" Thompson over the course of more than 20 years. This provided the main tranche of content in the original islandvoices.ca site, originally launched in April, 2011. The Library's plan for islandvoices.ca is that it will be the online platform for the PEI Sound and Moving Image Archive concept, with additional material being loaded to islandvoices as content and funding availability allow. In 2018, the Library partnered with the Benevolent Irish Society -- with financial backing from the Government of Ireland's Emigrant Support Program -- to digitize oral history interviews conducted by the BIS in the early-mid 1980s, along with lectures delivered at the BIS hall (now the Irish Cultural Centre) from 1987 through 2011. The Library appreciates the project partnerships and financial support received to date, and we look forward to pursuing further opportunities to grow islandvoices.