Ottawa Public Library Wins CLA/3M Canada Award for Achievement in Technical Services

(Ottawa, May 17, 2010) The 2010 winner of the CLA/3M Canada Award for Achievement in Technical Services is the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) for the project “New Cataloguing Strategy for World Languages Material”.

In 2008 and 2009, the Technical Services department at the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) undertook several projects the objective of which was to improve our capacity to provide responsive services. One project that the department developed was a “New Cataloguing Strategy for World Languages Material”. Its aim was to address the problems encountered by newcomers when they search the catalogue for material in their native language, and how they find that material on the shelves. The new strategy involved the department taking advantage of the native language skills that the staff had for 4 of the 11, languages that were acquired during that year. These 4 languages happened to be the most in demand by newcomers which were Chinese, Persian, Arabic and Russia.

The department applied the “touch an item once” policy for world language cataloguing.  Brief record templates were created for all original cataloguing. This significantly reduced the time it took for an item to reach the shelves. Cataloguers were instructed to work on 5to 10 titles every day, so that there would always be new titles showing up on the new titles list available from the website. Vernacular script was keyed in for every title, if it was not included in the copy record. A list of most popular subjects that were acquired by the library was created. Instead of a call number, every non-fiction title got a subject from that list for the call number. For other languages, and wherever possible, the technical services department requested bibliographic records with vernacular script from the vendors, which were uploaded into the database. The new titles catalogued were made available through the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) website, by linking to new arrivals by language. The titles are displayed in their original language, which made it easier to reserve an item.  Cataloguers with native language skills also collaborated with the Collection Development department on the selection of materials, and communication with vendors to ensure better selections are sent to Ottawa Public Library (OPL).

The results of the new strategy for cataloguing world language materials were:

Circulation of Arabic material increased by 70% in 2009, circulation of Russian material increased by 33% over 2008 and circulation Persian material increased by 9% over the previous year. BiblioCommons the new interface for the Public Access Catalogue was launched in the fall of 2009, this new interface to the catalogue allows for searching by vernacular script, and patrons noticed this new feature and they wrote to Ottawa Public Library (OPL) to express how pleased they were with this new functionality.

The purpose of the award is to recognize achievement in technical services in order to:

  • Encourage innovation and excellence;
  • Share new ideas or innovative approaches to technical services problems with other libraries so that they can incorporate them or build on them, as appropriate;
  • Foster high morale in technical services units; and
  • Raise the profile of technical services within individual libraries and across the Canadian library community.
The selection committee felt that Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has achieved these aims, and we are pleased to present the award to this innovative team.

The Ottawa Public Library will receive the CLA/3M Canada Award for Achievement in Technical Services during the "Shaping Tomorrow's Metadata with RDA" pre-conference on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.  Congratulations to the  Ottawa Public Library (OPL).

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Media Contact:  Marcia Salmon
Email: msalmon@yorku.ca

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