Finding information for a location within a city can be challenging. This guide provides support for those researching Ottawa and its neighbourhoods.
Build a Glossary
Why? Neighbourhoods or specific sites can be complex and diverse spaces, which often straddle defined boundaries, wards or streets. Several communities may reside within a small space or one community may cover a large area. Creating a fulsome glossary can help tease out many threads of information and significantly improve a search strategy. For best results try to find terms beyond the obvious. Consider these tips:
How to create a glossary?
Visit the Neighbourhoods section of the Ottawa Resource Collection Online webpage. "Related Search Terms" offers a list of related terms for the 15 neighbourhoods.
Visit the Topics sections of the Ottawa Resource Collection Online webpage. Here you'll find links to Images and Maps, City of Ottawa Documents, Historical /Heritage, Buildings & Architects, Statistics, Social Media, Newspapers & Ottawa Stories, Urban Planning, Virtual Exhibits, Student Projects & Theses.
Use a map! Spatial information allows the eye to take in content differently from text. Keep in mind that bias and subjectivity is built into a map by means of the date, scale and authorship. Always use a critical eye assessing content. Use maps and text simultaneously for "Aha moments"!
Select as many different scales or levels of detail as possible. Different information is captured on maps of varying scales. Building footprints may be seen on maps at 1:2,000 but there may be unique place names on a map at a scale of 1:50,000.
If you're lucky you'll find maps for the same location issued by different authors. This gives added layers of information.
Find maps issued by the same author but for different years. This allows the eye to perceive slight changes over time. i.e.. Ottawa Topographic maps 1:50,000 for multiple years; Multiple editions of road maps by same author at same scale.
Images can be invaluable as they do not have artificial boundaries or biases that maps impose. See the section below on Maps and Images in this guide.
Consult the additional sections below in this guide for more tips!
Why? Local area research may require unique search strategies. This in-depth RESEARCH can take time especially when using multiple resources such as print, online/digital, archival materials or different archival collections in the city.
How? Check hours of opening in advance. The location and hours for the Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) are posted here. For help using the collection, arrange a consultation by contacting Archives and Special Collections staff . Can't get to campus? Try Ottawa Resource Collection Online! Consider other archives or libraries in the city and find out about their hours and visitor guidelines.
Bring research supplies (but not food or drinks!)
Why? Most Archives and Special Collections do not provide pencils, pens, paper, computers, USB, printers or scanners and many have a "pencil only" policy. Because rare books or unique materials can be difficult or impossible to replace, drinks and food are strictly forbidden.
Arrive informed Before visiting any collection, find out in advance what is or isn't provided or if an appointment is required.
For example: The Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) is located in room 581 of the MacOdrum Library. It is a collection within Archives and Special Collections (ASC). You'll find consultation tables; an in-house scanner but bring a USB; there is NO photocopier but taking pictures by phone is acceptable ensuring copyright restrictions are maintained; a Library desktop catalogue only is available- so a personal laptop may be helpful; archival gloves are provided if needed; staff can offer help during office hours or email for an appointment ; after hours when doors are locked, clients may ask for entry to the Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) at the Main Floor Services Desk. Sorry there is no overnight access after 11:30pm, when the Library is open 24 hours.
Search Carleton Library's OMNI using the customized glossary of terms you've created. Using this glossary will significantly increase your success. Items in electronic format are identified in the record.
Enter glossary terms in OMNI both individually and in combinations. Try with and without the word "Ottawa" i.e. "Hintonburg" or "Hintonburg Ottawa". Be creative!
Once results appear, open the LOCATION tab (on left side) and click on "Floor 5 (Room 581) Ottawa Resource Material (OTTR)" .
Try clicking on Subject entries - this may lead to other useful books in the collection
Staff are continually compiling lists of references for local area sites and topics. To request a search of our Excel file, contact ASC staff
Consider using Maps and Images, City Directories; FBRO Reports / older print and online versions (Federal Heritage Review Office); Ottawa Magazine; Rare books ; Archives and Special Collections (ASC).
Contact ASC staff for help or arrange a consultation
Spatial information such as maps and images, provide rich layers of content and can clarify or support written information. Consider including a map or image in your research or consult a map or image to help make connections or enrich your understanding. Remember it is important and easy to cite maps - click here for help!
When looking for the right map, remember information may reside on single map or as smaller part of a large map series. Maps are available in paper or digital formats. Remember maps import bias and subjectivity because information is superimposed whereas images are visual evidence uncluttered by bias.
- Visit Ottawa Resource Collection Online, under Images and Maps - you'll find an extensive list of local area digital map resources which may be used alone or with other print maps in the Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR). See links to sites such as Fire Insurance Plans, historical topographic maps, GeoOttawa, images and more.
- Visit GIS MacOdrum Library including Open Data Ottawa for GIS map data. .
- The Carleton Library's print and paper map collection, curated for over 60 years, dates approximately up to the early 2000's. You'll find a variety of topics and scales. Paper maps can provide a baseline for researchers. When current data is layered over an older map, a timeline can reveal trends or patterns.
- For details on scanning paper maps ask staff in Archives and Special Collections.
- Print or paper maps are searchable in OMNI. Just add "map" to a term in the search box. Pls note: Due to a recent map reorganization, some map titles may still have an incorrect location code. Ottawa maps MPL (floor 1) should read OTTR (floor 5).
- Contact staff in Archives and Special Collections if you are having difficulty locating an Ottawa map.
Ottawa Timeline -- Wards -- Dates (City of Ottawa Archives) -- Other Local Collections in the Area
Ottawa Timeline *Pls note - dates may be approximate*
Dates (City of Ottawa Archives):
Government documents are embedded within the OTTR collection-consult OMNI for holdings
See OTTR Statistics
Consult ASC for additional support
Q: My assignment is due tomorrow. Can you help me?
Q: When the Library reopens, where will I find the Ottawa Resource Collection?
Q: If the door is locked to Room 581 how do I get access?
Q: Where can I find the Ottawa Resource Collection Online?