About The Island Imagined

A Collaborative Collection

"Since I'm Island-born home's as precise
as if a mumbly old carpenter,
shoulder-straps crossed wrong,
laid it out,
refigured to the last three-eights of shingle.

Nowhere...is there a spot
not measured by hands;
no direction I couldn't walk
to the wave-lined edge of home.”

Milton Acorn - The Island

Milton Acorn's oft quoted poem evokes the complicated relationship between the land and the peoples who have occupied Prince Edward Island. The question of how Prince Edward Islanders relate to “land” is definitive when attempting to understand the province. As residents of a small place with naturally defined borders, Prince Edward Islanders have a strong and multifaceted attachment to the land. The complex interaction with, and thought about, the land has shaped Prince Edward Islander's sense of their culture and history. Conversely as much as Islanders have been impacted by the landscape they have been a powerful force in the transformation of physical complexion of the same landscape.

The IslandImagined.ca is an online collection of historic maps of Prince Edward Island. The collection's imperative is the preservation and digitization of important geographic artefacts and documents that provide insight into the changing physical and cultural forms of Prince Edward Island. The collection is accessible, interactive and compellingly presented to allow the widest possible number of users ranging from interested members of public, genealogists, academics, geographic professionals as well as teachers and students. The collection features maps, atlases, books, images, and documents from the Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Records Office, the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, and the Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island. The number of maps in the collection continues to grow. 


The IslandImagined.ca is made possible by the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Program.

Project partners include the Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Records Office, the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation and the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island.


IslandImagined.ca is a unique example of the digital preservation and access potential enabled by the Islandora open source framework. Islandora, developed by the University of Prince Edward Island's Robertson Library, combines Drupal and Fedora to create a robust and accessible platform to preserve, manage and present digital content. Islandora's adaptability and focus on digital stewardship make it ideal for use in archives, libraries and museums. 


The maps displayed on the IslandImagined.ca are described using the Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) metadata schema. MODS is an adaptable bibliographic element standard that is maintained by the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress with input from users. The metadata was extracted from the original Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Records Office cataloguing cards and integrated into the flexible MODS metadata format. Metadata extracted integrated into the MODS metadata schema includes:

1. Accession Number = Identifier

2. Date = DataCreated

3. Description = Abstract


Once the metadata has been extracted from the index card it is inputed into a custom XML structure that is used to ingest the map's metadata into the Islandora repository. A sampling of the XML schema that has been used to ingest MODS metadata into IslandImagined.ca digital repository:

1. <title>Plan of Lot 18</title>

2. <subtitle>situated in Prince County in the Island of St. John enlarged and Drawn from the Original Survey of the Island by Thomas Wright Esq., Surveyor General</subtitle>

3. <typeOfResource>cartographic</typeOfResource>



The maps were scanned using TTI Repro-Graphic Workstation 3040 (motorized) overhead scanner equipped with a BetterLight Super 8K-HS Digital Scanback at 300dpi/48bit color. The scanner has a 30"x40" variable controlled vacuum flatbed and maps larger than the flatbed were scanned in sections.

Smaller maps, atlases, and print material in the collection were scanned using an Indus 5004c book scanner.