Prince Edward Island has made an extensive contribution to the history of a people and a country. The Island Archives Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island, in collaboration with our partners, is bringing PEI's rich history to life, making it widely available to present and future generations through complementary projects stewarding virtual artifacts.
The digitization of the world's knowledge is well underway. Whether it be the success of the Wikipedia, the Google Books project and its far-reaching ramifications for intellectual property and the printed word, or the race to develop the ideal eBook appliance, one thing is clear: the production of new knowledge in a digital context, and the conversion of the printed word to the same digital landscape, will continue at a rapid pace. For the lifelong learner, regardless of age or location, access to this world of information is unparalleled and must be maintained through open access and effective stewardship of the print record.
The Robertson Library's Island Archives Centre will protect and offer access to all of PEI's contributions to our local and national heritage via a digital context infinitely more useful than that provided by traditional tools. Contributions to the "official word" will include records and images of items held in libraries and museums, but will also encompass items contributed by individuals - ultimately weaving an incredibly rich and detailed historical tapestry.
The vision of the Island Archives Centre is centred around IslandArchives.ca (the digitization facility and digital collections) and is focused on developing the expertise and facilities for "lifting the words" from archival documents, and to create the tools to weave that information into new linkages and discoveries. IslandArchives.ca encompasses a physical facility with computer systems optimized for digitization, online storage, and stewardship of digital artifacts - those "born digital" or converted from print. IslandArchives.ca will provide the innovative tools capable of accessing all manner of material: published texts, handwritten documents, photographs, audio recordings, or movies. By placing these items in a digital environment, we create a true Island Archives. Learners from around the world may view our rich heritage - the actual items - from their homes and schools.
IslandArchives.ca will also provide innovative collaborative tools encouraging members of the Island community, as well as people from across the country, to contribute personal stories and visuals to this new kind of online archive.
Please contact me if you have comments about the IslandArchives.ca sites, or would like to participate or donate to our efforts. We are in it for the loing haul, and we hope you will join us in the journey.