Preserving the World's Documentary Heritage: our mission for 25 years

The purpose of the Memory of the World Programme, created by UNESCO in 1992, is to facilitate the preservation of documentary heritage and ensure access to it.

The Programme is known for both its International Register and a number of national registers that raise awareness about the importance of documentary heritage as the “memory” of humanity.

To be listed in a Memory of the World Register, documentary heritage must meet several criteria such as world significance, to be considered for the International Memory of the World Register, and Canadian significance, for the Canada Memory of the World Register.

Canada Memory of the World Register

The Canada Memory of the World Register will reflect the diversity of Canada’s documentary heritage – linguistic, cultural, geographic, spiritual, political, economic, scientific and artistic, as well as that related to personal and community identity. Entries in the Canada Register will include documents of all kinds (written, films, photographs, audio recordings and so on) that bear witness to some of the defining moments in our history that have affected the country as a whole, its Indigenous Peoples, its regions, its communities and its individuals. This heritage may be a single item just as well as a collection held by public or private bodies or by individuals.

Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO has an Advisory Committee that reviews the submissions. The members of the Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World are: Chantal Fortier (Chair), Camille L. Callison (Vice-Chair), Lorraine O’Donnell, Yves Frenette, Derek Cooke and two ex officio members: the Librarian and Archivist of Canada and the Chief Executive Officer of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

The committee's mandate is to review and evaluate submissions to the International and the Canadian Registers.

To date

So far, Canada has four inscriptions in the International Register:

  • The Hudson’s Bay Company Archival Records (Archives of Manitoba) (2007)
  • The Quebec Seminary Collection, 1623–1800 (Musée de la civilisation du Québec) (2007)
  • The National Film Board of Canada, Norman McLaren’ short film Neighbours (2009)
  • The Discovery of Insulin and its Worldwide Impact (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library-University of Toronto) (2013)

How to submit

To submit an application for the Memory of the World Register and/or for the Canada Memory of the World Register, there is a form to fill out and a process to follow. For more information, please contact Pauline Dugré, Program Officer, at

Members of the Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World

Camille L. Callison, Manitoba

Camille L. Callison Camille Callison is from Tsesk iye (Crow) Clan of the Tahltan Nation. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.L.I.S. First Nations Concentration and is dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous knowledge, culture and cultural materials. Ms. Callison is the Indigenous Services Librarian and Liaison Librarian for Anthropology, Native Studies and Social Work at the University of Manitoba. She is responsible for addressing the unique library needs of the Indigenous community at UM, promoting Indigenous scholarship through collection development; the development of new programs aimed to aid in Indigenous student retention as well as instruction; collection development and reference work pertaining to her subject areas; and she is a Member of the University of Manitoba (UM) Indigenous Advisory Circle. She promotes Indigenous libraries and archives, and makes recommendations on library and information needs of Indigenous peoples through her involvement in local, national and international professional associations.

Ms. Callison serves on the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB) as the Indigenous Representative, member of the Copyright Committee where she was Chair of the CFLA-FCAB Truth & Reconciliation Committee and currently is Chair, CFLA—FCAB Standing Committee on Indigenous Matters. She is a member of the Public Library Advisory Board for Manitoba, member of IFLA Indigenous Matters Section; the Past President of Manitoba Library Association; and a volunteer member of the MLA Prison Library Committee providing library services to inmates. She was a member of the UM’s Bid and Implementation Committees formed to bring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission archives to the University of Manitoba, and she convened and co-chaired the 9th International Indigenous Librarians’ Forum (IILF) in August 2015 with Elder David Courchene Jr. at the University of Manitoba. Ms. Callison’s research interests are Indigenous librarianship; the role of libraries and archives in preserving traditional knowledge and languages while contributing to their recovery, revitalization and copyright protection; the development of best practices in libraries and archives for Aboriginal people and in teaching Indigenous communities and grassroots organizations to organize and preserve knowledge in a variety of mediums.

Derek Cooke, Yukon

Derek Cooke Derek Cooke has been involved in heritage presentation and preservation with municipal, provincial/territorial and federal agencies, as well as First Nations since 1975. His initial studies in History and Native Studies at Trent University and Museum Technology at Algonquin College resulted in a career that has spanned from museums such as Upper Canada Village, Black Creek Pioneer Village, the Museums of Prince Edward County, the Diefenbunker – Canada’s Cold War Museum, and National Museums of Canada. A significant portion of his career was with Parks Canada where Mr. Cooke worked at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, and Offices in Alberta and Ontario. He was seconded to the federal Department of Communications in 1993 as the Program Officer for the Museums Assistance Program in Ontario. From 1994 to2005, he served as Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Services with Parks Canada and collaborated on exhibits and initiatives with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Royal British Columbia Museum, Pointe-à-Callière Museum and the National Park Service in the United States, as well as undertaking Museum Studies courses at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology. He received Awards from Parks Canada for work on the Commemoration of the Underground Railroad in Canada and the Collections Management and Conservation of HMCS Haida National Historic Site. Mr. Cooke has also been a heritage consultant and artifact appraiser who has presented to educational and special interest groups at conferences and workshops. His enthusiasm for heritage preservation and presentation has been expressed through advocacy work for Interpretation Canada, the Ontario Historical Society, Ottawa Museum Network and as a Board of Directors member for “Taste the County”, a regional tourism destination marketing collective in Prince Edward County, Ontario. After relocating to the Yukon in 2012, he served as the Manager of the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre before engaging as the Heritage /Culture Coordinator at the Kwanlin Dűn Cultural Centre. Mr. Cooke is currently responsible for Heritage Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. He currently sits as a member of the Yukon Arts Advisory Council and Yukon First Nations Heritage Working Group. His interests include popular culture, travel, cooking, reading, movies, heritage, experiential tourism and community history.

Chantal Fortier, Ontario

Chantal Fortier For over 30 years, heritage and culture have been the focus of Chantal Fortier’s career. After having managed during three years a provincial science literacy event in Québec, she occupied various managerial positions in education services and exhibition planning within the Science and Technology Museum Corporation between 1987 and 1999. She then joined the Department of Canadian Heritage where she became Director, Heritage programs, managing funding for heritage organizations (museums, archives and libraries), including a program to preserve and promote audiovisual heritage. Chantal moved to the Portfolio Affairs Office in 2005 as Director, Portfolio Management. Her responsibilities included funding, strategic planning and reporting, as well as various public policy issues for the federal cultural organizations. In 2011, she took up a new challenge as Director, Strategic Policy and Management in the Cultural Affairs Sector. In addition to sectoral planning and reporting, Chantal also managed the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Secretariat for Culture and Heritage and TV5. Her experiences have shaped her awareness of issues at stake for documentary heritage. At the end of 2013, Chantal retired from the Public Service. Since then, she shares her time among various professional activities relating to culture and others such as volunteering on the Governance Committee of Montfort Hospital. Chantal has a B.Sc. in biology and a M.A. in museology from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Yves Frenette, Manitoba

Yves Frenette Yves Frenette is a professor and the Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Migrations, Transfers and Francophone Communities at the University of Saint-Boniface in Manitoba. Originally from the Quebec City region, he studied history at Carleton University and Université Laval. Former Director of the Centre for Research on French-Canadian Culture and of the Institute of Canadian studies at the University of Ottawa; he is also an Adjunct Professor of History at York University and at the University of Ottawa. Mr. Frenette is also an associate professor in History departments at both York University and University of Ottawa. During his career, he has taught at the University of Maine, Bates College, Glendon College, l’Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, l’École nationale des chartes and the Universität der Saarlandes. In fall 2013, he was named the research chairholder on Canada by the PRES Limousin-Poitou-Charentes. Specialist in North American francophonies and the history of immigration and ethnic groups, he has published three books (Histoire de la Gaspésie, 1981, 2nd edition 1999; Brève histoire des Canadiens français, 1998 ; Transposer la France) and more than 100 book chapters and scholarly articles. He has also edited or co-edited 15 collective works. Mr. Frenette also created the award-winning website, Francophonies canadiennes : identités culturelles). With geographers Étienne Rivard and Marc Saint-Hilaire, he published the Atlas historique de la francophonie nord-américaine, which was awarded the 2012 Prix de l'Assemblée nationale from the Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique française. Mr.Frenette is director of the SSHRC funded Partnership Development Project “Nouveaux regards sur l’occupation du continent nord-américain par la population canadienne-française, 1760-1914“. Mr. Frenette works on several other projects, including a history of North Dakota’s Francophones, the role of correspondences in the making of the French-Canadian diaspora, the biography of a Danish immigrant to postwar Ontario, francophone migrations in contemporary North America, and the scholarly edition of the memoirs of a 19th century French Canadian migrant through the continent. He is also a core searcher on the large-scale joint research project titled Le français à la mesure d’un continent : un patrimoine à partager [French on a continental scale – a heritage to be shared]. Mr. Frenette has been Chair of the Canadian Historical Association’s Comité des interventions publiques [Committee on public initiatives] and Chair of the National Capital Commission’s committee of outside experts on commemoration. He is also member of the Royal Society of Canada, l’Ordre des francophones d’Amérique and the Société Charlevoix.

Lorraine O’Donnell, Québec

Lorraine O’DonnellLorraine O’Donnell developed her passion for archives while studying history for her BA (University of Ottawa), MA (York University), and PhD (McGill University, 2003). She worked as a student at Library and Archives Canada (Pre-Confederation section), then on staff at Archives of Ontario, working with the textual and visual Eaton’s Company records. At University of Toronto Archives, she was responsible for special media, and subsequently worked in Amsterdam at the International Institute for Social History and as a volunteer at the Amnesty International archives. Her interest led to her award-winning article in Archivaria on non-textual archives. Lorraine also taught Canadian history at Université Laval and Western Civilization at Champlain College. In the 1990s, Dr. O’Donnell built a consulting business focussed on community-based projects. Mandates included archival research, curating exhibitions on Irish and Jewish communities, and creating a comprehensive list of heritage resources, notably archival records and repositories, related to English speaking Quebec. Lorraine complemented this work with a Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development (Concordia University, 2008). Since 2008, Dr. O’Donnell has been coordinator-researcher of the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network at Concordia University. In this position, she promotes knowledge production and inter-institutional support for Quebec Anglophones, and has appeared before Official Languages sub-committees of the House of Commons and of the Senate. She participates in annual Library and Archives Canada consultations. In 2015 the University named her Affiliate Assistant Professor.

Dr. O’Donnell is active in civil society. Her heritage activities include volunteer Directorship at Irish Heritage Quebec and at the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, where she chaired the archives committee, and ongoing membership in the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network, St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal, and the Canadian Historical Association. Fluently bilingual (French/English), Dr. O’Donnell as lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Amsterdam, Quebec City and Montreal, her current residence.