Finding information for a location within a city can be challenging. This guide provides support for those researching Ottawa and its neighbourhoods.
Note: In Fall 2020, while the library building is mostly closed, there will be no access to physical materials in the Ottawa Resource Collection.
There is complementary content in Ottawa Resource Collection Online.
Build a Glossary
Why? Neighbourhoods or local area sites can be complex, diverse spaces, often straddling defined boundaries, wards or streets. Several communities can reside within a small space or one community may cover a large area. To tease out the many threads of information, search using terms beyond the obvious. For example, because boundaries have changed over time, a location formerly in the City of Nepean, may now reside within the City of Ottawa. A search using Ottawa, City of Nepean, Nepean Township, etc. may lead to more fulsome results.
- Check out Ottawa Resource Collection Online under Neighbourhoods, for "Related Search Terms". This may provide ideas for a customized glossary.
- Using maps, atlases or the internet, supplement with other terms to describe a research topic/ place. Consider including historical references, street names, prominent people, ward names, community labels & census boundaries to name a few. Consider if the location has changed municipalities over time.
Why? Local area topics 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 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, USBs, 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.
has consultation tables
has an in-house scanner but bring a USB!
does NOT provide a photocopier but taking pictures by phone is acceptable ensuring copyright restrictions are maintained
provides a computer to search the OTTR collection only - a personal laptop may be helpful as there is no internet access
provides archival gloves if needed
satff can offer help during office hours or email for an appointment
Did you know?
Once the Library's regular hours resume, clients may ask for entry to the Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) at the Main Floor Services Desk after 4pm (when the door is locked). Sorry there is no overnight access after 11:30pm, when the Library is open 24 hours.
OTTR Digital Resources
Neighbourhood information can reside in a wide variety of print sources in the OTTR collection (room 581). But finding relevant content can be challenging because OMNI records only capture general headings. For example, content on Lebreton Flats may be found in a book with a generic title like "Ottawa".
To optimize discovery, try these steps:
STEP 1 - SEARCH OMNI
Using a customized glossary (see Getting Started with Local Area Research) enter terms in OMNI individually and strung together. Try with and without the word "Ottawa" i.e. "Hintonburg" or "Hintonburg Ottawa"
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
Books in The Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) - room 581, are physically arranged on the shelf in call number order from A-Z
Materials in the OTTR Collection do not leave the room, nor do they circulate so consider bringing a USB for the in-house scanner or a phone camera
STEP 2 - RANDOM SHELF SEARCH
- Visually scan books on the shelves. The FC (history) or HT (planning) section of the collection may yield surprising results.
- Check the Table of Contents and the Indexes using a custom glossary.
- The year of publication is often included in a call number which helps frame the timeline or content. i.e. pre 2001 - Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton (RMOC) / post 2001 - City of Ottawa
STEP 3- SUBJECT FILE CABINET
- The Subject File Cabinet is located near the entrance to the Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) - Room 581. It is a collection of grey literature, ephemera, blog postings, magazine articles, advertisements and newspaper clippings filed alphabetically by topic. Files may offer clues or supporting information.
- Use a critical lens when consulting ephemera as items may not be considered "academic" or "peer reviewed".
- For best results remember to use a customized glossary i.e. There may be helpful clues for Little Italy in the Preston St., Lebreton or Dalhousie Ward folders.
STEP 4 - OTTR EXCEL FILE
- ASC staff are continually compiling a list of references for local area sites and topics. To request a search of our Excel file, contact ASC staff
STEP 5 - OTHER RESOURCES
- Consider using Maps and Cartographic resources; 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
Why Use Maps and Images?
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.
- Ottawa Resource Collection Online - Maps, Plans & Images - offers an extensive list of local area digital map resources which may be used alone or to support print maps in the Ottawa Resource Collection (OTTR) in room 581. There are links to sites such as Fire Insurance Plans, historical topographic maps, GeoOttawa (Beta) as well as image respositories, historical aerial images and more!
- GIS MacOdrum Library including Open Data Ottawa - an in-depth resource for GIS map and data support.
- Old Maps Online a catalogue of historical maps found on the web by the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and Klokan Technologies in Switzerland. Browse and search old maps by panning and zooming, along with a search bar and a slider for time.
Print (paper) Maps in the Carleton Library
- 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.
On this page:
Ottawa Timeline -- What was a "Police Village" -- From the City of Ottawa Archives -- Other Local Collections in the Area
Ottawa Timeline *Pls note - dates may be approximate*
From the 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?