About Peel's Prairie Provinces

Interior page of the print bibliographyPeel's Prairie Provinces is a digital collection dedicated to assisting scholars and students of all types in their research about western Canadian history and the culture of the Canadian Prairies. Although English-language titles predominate the collection, it also contains a substantial body of materials in French, Ukrainian, and other languages.

This digital collection is now hosted on the Internet Archive platform which allows us to take advantage of a number of new accessibility features and high-resolution downloads. Learn more about the new features at How to Use this Collection.

History of Peel's Prairie Provinces

The original Peel's Prairie Provinces website built upon the work of Bruce B. Peel and the updated records found within the 3rd edition of the print Peel bibliography (Ernie B. Ingles and N. Merrill Distad, eds., Peel's bibliography of the Canadian Prairies to 1953, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), a textual list of sources relating to the Prairie Provinces. The online Peel bibliographic database continues the work of this latest print bibliography to include items published after 1953, the terminal date for its print counterpart, as well as materials outside of its original scope.

Between 2003 and 2020, the University of Alberta Library digitized many of the original items listed in the bibliography. We began with items held within the University of Alberta Library collection, then worked with partner institutions to digitize select items from their holdings. It was not possible to digitize every item in the bibliography due to a variety of reasons including copyright restrictions, the unavailability of any print copies, among others.Cover of the print bibliography

To further develop the collection, we expanded the original website to include materials not listed in the bibliography but that complement the western Canadian scope of the Peel's Prairie Provinces.

In 2020, Peel's digital infrastructure became unsustainable long-term and we had to stop adding new content to this beloved collection. In 2022, we started migrating the digital content to the Internet Archive platform to ensure stable, ongoing access.

The University of Alberta Library's Digitization program continues to digitize new content across a number of collections and resources. We prioritize historical, unique, or hard-to-access materials relating to Alberta and western Canada; expanding to include projects that go beyond the original scope of Peel, with a focus on materials that directly support teaching and research needs.

What's the relationship between this online resource and Bruce Peel Special Collections?

Although this digital collection and the Bruce Peel Special Collections (BPSC) at the University of Alberta share the same namesake, their collections are different. Bruce Peel Special Collections contains copies of some – but not all – of the books and pamphlets listed in this digital collection. And our digital collection represents only a small percentage of items housed at the BPSC library, which holds rare books and archival materials that cover both local and international subjects. In order to determine the physical materials available through the Bruce Peel Special Collections, and of the University of Alberta Library in general, please consult the library's online catalogue.

Where can I find the originals in physical format?

The majority of items within this online collection are in print, although there are small numbers in microform or other physical forms. Many of the items are housed at the University of Alberta Library, and access can be determined using the library's online catalogue.

We digitized some items by borrowing them from other libraries, including the Winnipeg Public Library. If you want to check for an item in academic libraries worldwide, you can use the WorldCat catalogue (please note that most public libraries are not included in WorldCat). If there is a local library in the location about which you're researching, try checking their catalogues or seeking help there; public libraries are invaluable sources for local historical research.