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An abundance of research material (textual documents, photographs, audio and video tapes, newspapers and periodicals) on French Canada is available at the Centre’s archives. This documentation, from Québec, Ontario, Acadia and the Western provinces, as well as parts of the United States, is open for on site public consultation; there is also a reference library.
One of the Centre’s main objectives is the promotion of research on all aspects of French Canadian culture. From its initial focus on literature, the Centre’s orientation and activities have gradually broadened to include all the humanities and social sciences: history, sociology, economics, translation, political science, women’s studies, communication, music, education, linguistics, visual arts, etc.
A number of specialized, quality publications on French Canada are produced by the Centre. Among these works, published by various editors, there are essays, critical editions, biographies, textbooks, symposia proceedings and finding aids.
The Centre’s achievements have given it an international reputation. Many researchers from throughout the world have approached the Centre to obtain information and to solicit its collaboration. The Centre maintains regular contacts with other research groups and cultural associations that share the same goals.
Archives are truly the collective memory of a society. The Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture holds more than 1.8 linear kilometres of documents, of which an important part is related to Franco-Ontarians. Most of the major Franco-Ontarian associations entrust their archives to the Centre, as well as a growing number of individuals who are aware of the value of personal documents for our collective heritage.
The many individuals and organizations who donate their archives to the Centre contribute to the conservation and the development of our heritage and at the same time they may obtain certain benefits, such as:
- controlled environmental and security conditions for the conservation of their archives;
- the arrangement and description of their documents by professional archivists;
- the circulation, among university researchers and the public, of the information contained in their documents (donors have access to their archives at any time, during opening hours, as well as evenings and weekends on request).
The Centre has become a major meeting place for research on French Canada: it welcomes more than 1,000 researchers and visitors every year. The Centre’s staff is pleased to assist them consult the documents they need, whether to complete a thesis, write a family history; or prepare a topic for radio or television; the only restrictions are those imposed by the donors. Various reference books and finding aids, such as summary lists and inventories of documents, photograph and tape files, etc., are also available.
In order to encourage research on French Canadian culture by scholars from all the humanities and social sciences, the Centre houses research projects headed by University of Ottawa faculty, financed by outside sources. It supplies these projects with administrative facilities, such as office space, documentation and secretarial services, or other assistance within its means.