What is Island Voices?

The first phase of Island Voices (2010 - 2012) is a project focussing on the digtization of one of Prince Edward Island's most important collections of folklore and oral history field recordings, the Reg "Dutch" Thompson archive. Future phases of the project will develop a more comprehensive online archive of PEI spoken word and music recordings.

Project Background

The Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation has helped us establish a working relationship with Reg “Dutch” Thompson. Mr. Thompson is one of the province’s best-known researchers in the fields of folklore and oral history, thanks largely to his long-running and popular CBC Radio show on PEI oral history, “The Bygone Days”. Mr. Thompson currently has ~700 hours of field recordings stored on audio-cassette in his home, along with an additional ~100 hours recorded on video. This is surely one of the richest single troves of oral history in Eastern Canada – a treasure of both provincial and regional significance -- and Mr. Thompson has partnered with the UPEI Library to digitize this collection and make elements of it available on-line. This has been a matter of some urgency, since the rich content on these recordings was not publically accessible, and there was also no “back-up” for this collection, leaving it vulnerable to calamitous loss or damage, due to the proven instability of magnetic cassette tapes over time and the sub-optimal storage conditions for such media that a domestic household offers. Funding from the  Inukshuk Wireless Foundation has allowed us to transfer this collection from its original audio and videocassette media to digital format, in keeping with established and emerging best practices for the digital archiving of sound and moving image recordings.