My first step for the project was to tackle the collection housed at the MacOdrum Library at Carleton, which includes microfiche, maps, government documents, theses, as well as your typical books.
Researching business history can be a challenge in a library, and the biggest difficulty I found was when the catalogue left me guessing whether a resource was appropriate or not. Often, there weren’t direct links between resources relating to the same industry or even the same company; the links came from my own cross-referencing when consulting the actual items.
My method for including items into the CNBH database began by doing a keyword search for “Ottawa business,” which is something like casting a giant net into an ocean. I came up with many useful results, and many more which were unrelated. I was looking at over 200 pages of results, ranging in publication dates from the 1800s to the present day.
When I was in a second-year Political Studies class, I learned a trick that’s always stayed with me. As I went to find a book on the shelf, I would investigate the books in the vicinity to see if there might be something my initial search didn’t uncover. As a result, I’ve found several interesting books on the Ottawa area that are included in my work.
Does this mean I’ve uncovered every book there is about Ottawa’s business history? Probably not. When we publish the database later on, I would encourage anyone to submit anything I’ve missed to the CNBH for future inclusion.
In a future post, I will give into further details about the different kinds of resources in the library.
Link to the MacOdrum library: http://www.library.carleton.ca/