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Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Call for Nominations: Inscriptions to the Canada Memory of the World Register

August 2, 2018

In collaboration with its Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) is pleased to launch the second Call for Nominations for inscription on the Canada Memory of the World Register. The Register aims to recognize significant documentary heritage relating to our country and its peoples. It is modeled on the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register.

The United Nations proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. In preparation for this special year, the CCUNESCO at its Annual General Meeting in June 2018, committed to active participation and support for the bearers of Indigenous heritage.

The Canadian Advisory Committee for the Memory of the World supports this vision by putting a special emphasis in 2019 on proposals relating to Indigenous languages and cultures. Many are considered to be endangered, and their preservation, strengthening and revitalization are of crucial importance to Indigenous peoples and to Canadian society.

In 2018, the Canada Memory of the World Register welcomed two inscriptions relating to Indigenous languages: the Ida Halpern fonds at the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Witnesses of Founding Cultures: Early Books in Aboriginal Languages (1556-1900) from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

The Committee also welcomes proposals related to all types of documentary heritage.

All individuals, private and public institutions, organizations, and communities are invited to submit documentary heritage of Canadian significance for inscription on the Canada Memory of the World Register. Joint submissions are also welcome.

A. What can be nominated

Any documentary heritage relating to Canada can be nominated. Documents come in numerous forms: text items, non-text items, audiovisual items and virtual items. Hence, it could include diaries, letters, manuscripts, posters, published books, wampum belts, art works, photographs, recordings, films as well as material made for the web (sites, games, online lessons, apps).

It can be a single document, or a collection of documents.

B. How to apply

Applying to the Canada Memory of the World Register is a two-step process:

First Step

All applicants are requested to send a short Declaration of Interest to CCUNESCO, summarizing the documentary heritage proposed for inscription, its custodian, where it is located and why it has Canadian significance. The Declaration can be a written document, a video or a recording. The written declaration should contain at least 500 words but not more than 1,500 words. The video or the recording should be between 5 and 8 minutes.

As the Committee recognizes that for some organizations and communities, more time is needed, there are two dates possible to submit a Declaration of Interest. It should either be sent by November 1st, 2018 to CCUNESCO or by March 1st, 2019 to the attention of Kelsey Beauvais, Communication and Information Program Officer by email at, or by mail at PO Box 1047, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5V8.

Second Step

The Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World reviews the declarations of interest to assess their relevance under the program. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a Nomination Form either by May 1st, 2019 or by October 15th, 2019.


In order to be inscribed on the Canada Memory of the World Register, documentary heritage must meet at least one of the six sub-criteria that determine Canadian significance. Documentary heritage must be authentic, unique and irreplaceable.

C. Decision

Inscriptions on the Canada Memory of the World Register will be announced during the fall of 2019 by CCUNESCO in collaboration with the Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World.

D. About the UNESCO Memory of the World Program

Launched in 1992, the Memory of the World Program aims at preserving and providing access to documentary heritage held in libraries, archives, museums and other places as the embodiment of the ‘memory’ of humanity. Its mission is to facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world’s documentary heritage; to assist universal access to documentary heritage; and to increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage. The principal vehicles for such awareness-raising are the UNESCO Memory of the World Registers, which now operate at the international, regional and national levels.

The purpose of the Canada Memory of the World Register is to create a greater awareness of Canada’s documentary heritage, including Indigenous heritage, by recognizing its most significant items (or groups of items) and by making them accessible for educational and research purposes, for instance by digitizing them fully or partly.

The Register is accessible online, kept up to date regularly and made available to the public via the CCUNESCO website.

See also:

(Via Canadian Commission for UNESCO)

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