How to Use WorldCat
- is an online library catalog
- lets you look up items in libraries around the world
- has books, electronic documents, journals, microform, audio and video recordings
- offers free access at http://www.worldcat.org.
Why Would I Use WorldCat.org?
- You know which item you want, but you don't know which libraries have it.
- You want to know what items exist on your subject (or by a particular author).
You need more information about an item (for instance, to get information for a proper citation in your bibliography).
Create a WorldCat.org Account
You can use WorldCat.org to search for items at libraries without signing in; however, to do some things, you will need to create a login and password. This is separate from the college login and password that you use to access other library databases.
- Go to http://www.worldcat.org
- Enter your search terms, such as title, author, keywords or subject, into the search box and click "Search."
If Basic Search is not giving you the results you want, or if you are getting too many irrelevant results, you can fine tune your search using Advanced Search.
This is especially useful if:
- the author you are searching is also the subject of other books (or the subject you're looking for is also an author)
- the author has a common name, or the book has a common title.
To use Advanced Search:
- Go to http://www.worldcat.org.
- Below the search box, click "Advanced Search."
- Choose the search box for the kind of search you are doing. You can put information in multiple boxes to limit your search, such as keywords, title and author.
- Scroll down the page to limit your seach further by:
- book, serial publication (journal), computer file (for example, an e-book), etc.
- publication date
- range of years.
Whether you use Basic Search or Advanced Search, the results list will work the same way.
- Click the title to get to the full record for the item.
- Navigate to the next or previous page using the links at the upper- and lower-right hand corners of the page. The list is automatically sorted by relevance. You can go to the upper right-hand corner of the page and use the pull-down menu to sort by:
You also can mark items and save them to your own private list, which you can access from any Internet-enabled computer.
- Sign into your WorldCat.org account.
- Mark items by checking the box to the left of the item.
- Go to the upper-middle of the results page and use the pull-down menu to select a list.
Filter/Refine Your Search Results
You will see a column labeled Refine Your Search on the left-hand side of the results List. Each time you click one of these "facets," your results list shrinks so that it includes only the results that meet the new criteria you have selected. You can progressively whittle down your results list so you don't have to pick through so many irrelevant items to find the ones you want.
The facets are:
- content (subject)
- format (type of material - book, archival material, etc.)
- year (publication date)