Prince Edward Island Legislative Documents Online was officially launched Thursday afternoon at Province House in Charlottetown.
P.E.I. Legislative Documents Online (PEILDO) presents the journals of the legislative assembly (1894 to the present), the official record of the business of the legislative assembly.
Free and open to all Islanders, the new site provides access to a rich collection of material covering almost 120 years of political, social and economic development.
It is located at www.peildo.ca.
PEILDO is the result of a partnership between the legislative assembly of P.E.I., the Public Archives and Records Office, P.E.I. Public Library Service, and Robertson Library, University of P.E.I.
It consists of more than 76,000 pages of keyword-searchable scanned journals (1894 to 2011), including data-rich appendices (1894 to 1966) containing detailed reports from departments such as health, education, agriculture and public works.
Digitized audio recordings of legislative assembly proceedings for the years 1968 to 1973 are also available for streaming.
To provide additional context, biographies (1873 to 1993) and more than 170 photographs of MLAs have been included in peildo.ca.
Legislature Speaker Carolyn Bertram says the website is a resource that brings past members’ contributions to everyone’s fingertips.
“It’s a fantastic heritage and educational tool for every Islander and Canadian,” she said.
Tourism and Culture Minister Robert Henderson says with a keyword-searchable version available online, what once took hours can be done in minutes.
“Researchers will find this a treasure trove of names, dates and facts. We were delighted to be able to contribute materials from our collection to the project and make them available to a much wider audience.”
Since 2006, the UPEI Robertson Library has committed to an “open” philosophy in developing home-grown, in-house digital collections and services, working with other P.E.I. culture and heritage institutions through its islandarchives.ca program.
The P.E.I. Legislative Documents Online initiative is a demonstration of the partnership potential of islandarchives.ca, since it is based on close co-operation between several Island information repositories.
The equipment and expertise of the UPEI Library’s digitization lab were shared with staff from the legislature’s Hansard office, who performed the digital scanning of print volumes sourced from partner institutions.
The system uses the Islandora system, developed at the UPEI Library and used all over the world to preserve digital content.
UPEI librarian Mark Leggott says they are delighted at the successful marriage of Island-based technology, expertise and content, which powerfully demonstrates the value and the potential of locally driven, open source-based digital solutions.
“It also sets a standard, not just for the innovative use of technology developed in P.E.I., but also for the development of strong cross-sectoral partnerships,” said Leggott.