Ottawa Resource Room Searching Strategies

Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Ottawa Resource Collection is a specialized collection that contains books, maps, government documents, ephemera, grey literature, and rare books about Ottawa and the surrounding area.

It is always best to prepare ahead of time. Follow these steps to find what you are looking for:

Step 1 Build a Glossary

  • of terms related to your research topic
  • begin with place names, street names, prominent people
  • former municipality names, ward names, census boundaries (many or which have undergone significant change)

Step 2 Search Omni

  • select the location 'Ottawa Resource Room' in the Advanced Search to limit your results to the Ottawa Resource Collection
  • books are arranged on the shelf in call number order from A-Z in the Ottawa Resource Room
  • check the Subjects of each book in order to find other useful books

Step 3 Random shelf search

  • browse the FC (history) section, or the HT (planning) section of the Ottawa Resource Room
  • the year of publication is sometimes part of the call number which helps frame the content
  • scan the Table of Contents and the Index of a book using your glossary of terms

Step 4 Check the Subject File

  • the Subject File is near the main door of Room 581 and contains a collection of grey literature, ephemera, blog postings, magazine articles, advertisements and newspaper clippings
  • use your glossary of terms
  • looks for street names, neighbourhoods and surnames
  • do not assume you have covered all bases by checking just one topic

Step 5 Discover our Paper and Online Maps

  • maps could be useful to you
  • ask for help from a staff member who can help you with a comprehensive search

Step 6 Rare Books Cabinets

  • several rare and valuable books are kept in the Rare Book cabinets
  • ask a staff member for access to them

Step 7 Check the Ottawa Resource Collection web page

  • information is arranged by Neighbourhood and Topic
  • Topics include:
    • Maps and Plans & Images
    • Administration and Finances
    • Historical
    • Buildings and Architects
    • Statistics
    • Blogs, Social Media and Newspaper links
    • Urban Planning
    • Student Projects and Related Theses

Step 8 Consider the Archives

Please note:

  • The Ottawa Resource Collection area (Room 581 on Floor 5) is staffed from 9-Noon and 1-4pm. After 4pm the door is locked but access is available by asking at the main Services desk located on Floor 2, anytime the building is open.
  • Material is for reference use only and does not leave the room. Please bring your USB and use the in-house scanner.
  • Take photos of useful books and call numbers for your future reference.
Content last reviewed: November 5, 2019