Research Support Technician

Job Summary

The Research Support Technician provides frontline research support services to all IDRC staff, grantees and to external clients, complementing and enhancing the resources available to them through self-service access to various IDRC resources.  S/he provides comprehensive document delivery and reference services. 

S/he maintains the Information and Research Support Services (IRSS) physical collections of books and periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) for use by IDRC staff for professional and personal development.  This includes acquisition, cataloguing, circulation, and weeding.

S/he is responsible for the main reception counter for the Information Management and Technology Division (IMTD), and acts as the central point of contact for the division.  S/he provides general information on IMTD services and directs users to the appropriate unit or person.

Primary Duties and/or Responsibilities:

Document Delivery to IDRC Staff and Grantees:

  • Searches for and fulfills research article delivery requests from IDRC staff and grantees, in order to support staff and grantee research efforts.
  • Searches for and fulfills interlibrary loans (ILL) requests for IDRC staff from other libraries around the world, in order to support staff’s research efforts.
  • For all requests:
    • Verifies to ensure the accuracy of bibliographic information;
    • Sources and acquires material in the most economical way and in the most appropriate formats; 
    • Delivers materials using the ILL delivery options; applies national standards and protocols for transmission of ILLs on-line or via electronic mail; 
    • Ensures safe and prompt return of borrowed materials and resolves problems with lending libraries, or vendors as required;
  • Reconciles monthly credit card statement against purchases made, and finalizes related transactions in the financial system.
  • Prepares regular document delivery metrics for management.

IDL Document Delivery to Global Research Community:

  • Searches for and fulfills requests from external parties for research results from IDRC projects that cannot be accessed self-service through the IDRC Digital Library (IDL).
  • For each request:
    • Analyses to ensure a full understanding and solicits additional information from the requestor as appropriate;
    • Identifies and solves, in cooperation with other Information Services staff, any issues related to the Copyright Act and the Centre’s policies with respect to the dissemination of research results to ensure compliance;
    • Reports any issues with IDL metadata or content to the IDL upload team for correction;
    • Ensures that procedures regarding the handling and preservation of corporate documents and research-related material are respected;
  • Prepares regular document delivery metrics for management.

Physical Collection Management:

Physical materials in IRSS consist mainly of books and periodicals (i.e. magazines, paper journals, and newspapers).


  • Acquires books and print periodicals through purchase, standing orders or donation for our physical collection as requested by IRSS Supervisor and in accordance to the IRSS acquisition policy;
  • Enters and maintains acquisition records in the Integrated Library System (ILS);
  • Coordinates payments of invoices and ensures that materials are charged to the appropriate budget code(s);
  • Organizes and maintains financial and other files associated with acquisitions and prepares reports for management on acquisition activities for tracking of expenses;
  • Co-ordinates and processes orders requested by PPB or ROs;
  • Maintains display of IDRC publications provided by Communications


  • Using the ILS, catalogues, organizes, and makes accessible library materials including books, periodicals, audiovisual, and electronic material according to international standards including AACR2, MARC21, and Z39.50 protocol;
  • Ensures the uniformity and use of the Library of Congress classification and subject headings, and IRSS cataloguing practices;
  • Creates catalogue records for material without bibliographic copy;


  • Creates and updates patron information and records; 
  • Coordinates the circulation of the physical collection to IDRC staff which includes charging, discharging, routing, renewals, holds, notices, claiming overdue items, and inventory control;
  • Selects materials, on a monthly basis, for the (leased) BibliAff collection,  markets the collection, and makes items available for loan and display;
  • Maintains the newspaper and magazine display in the cafeteria.


  • Weeds the physical collections based on parameters specified by the IRSS Supervisor;
  • Disposes of material and updates records in the ILS.


  • Acts as a central point of contact for the IMT division, for IDRC staff and visitors arriving through the main entrance of IMTD, to ensure our clients feel welcome.  Providing general information on IMTD services and directing users to the appropriate unit or person within the division;
  • Monitors and responds to queries received through the IRSS email account; queries can be IRSS specific or related to IDRC programming or other areas.
  • Refers requests for advanced or specialized training to appropriate IDRC colleagues for follow-up;
  • Provides one-on-one or group orientation on IRSS services;
  • Provides on-demand user instruction to internal and external clients on the utilization of IDRC databases, including IDRIS+, IDL, ILS, etc.

Continuous Improvement:

In order to improve the value and quality of IRSS service delivery:

  • Identifies gaps or inconsistencies, and recommends and participates in the implementation of improvements to:
    • Services;
    • User reference material;
    • Technologies, systems, software and tools;
    • Internal procedures and workflows;
  • Participates in testing of new Information Services systems;
  • Writes user or procedural documents as required;
  • Develops marketing strategies and promotional material; 
  • Performs other related duties in support of IMTD’s commitment to service excellence and proper stewardship of resources;
  • Fills in for other IRSS staff during absences, where skill sets overlap.

Job Scope

The Research Support Technician is responsible for most of the day-to-day client interactions of the Information and Research Support Services team.  On a daily basis, s/he provides IDL and research database/journal document delivery services and reference services and s/he maintains the library’s physical collection.  In a given year, s/he may fill 3,500 to 4,500 document delivery requests (with a dollar value of approximately $30,000) and 750 to 1,000 reference requests.

As the face of IRSS for most client service requests, how s/he interacts in person and by email with clients has a direct bearing on the reputation of IRSS, IMTD and IDRC.  S/he must exhibit excellent customer service and exercise good judgement in responding to requests for information.  S/he must ensure that the information provide is accurate, clear and in keeping with IDRC policies and the copyright act.