How to Search the WorldCat database

How to Search the WorldCat database


This video will demonstrate how to use the
WorldCat database to find books and other library items.
WorldCat is a global library catalog. It is a good database to use when you are doing
a research project requiring a comprehensive literature search, or if you are looking for
something that has proven difficult to find. From the Library home page, click on Search
Databases to get to WorldCat. Look in the alphabetical list under “W”.
Because WorldCat is such a large database, it may be helpful to limit your search to
a particular part of a record to provide some focus.
Here I am going to use a Geographic Coverage limit along with a keyword to help focus my
search. You can also use the date and language limits,
and you can ask to see items in a particular format.
I’m choosing books for this search. WorldCat also has a unique limiter—the number
of libraries that have the item. A choice of fewer libraries means the items retrieved
are more likely to be unique. The upside to that is that if you are interested
in comprehensiveness, they are items you probably have not yet seen. The downside is that they
may be harder to get. Once you do your search, you can tell right
away from a green banner that the item is available at AU. Click through to the catalog
to get the call number for the item. If the book is not at AU, it may be available
in the Washington Regional Library Consortium or at a non-consortium library.
First, click on the link to search the ALADIN Catalog to see if a consortium library owns
the item. If one does, click into the record and use the post-it note like link to fill
out a Consortium Loan Service request. If you get a screen that looks like this,
you can still borrow the book through Interlibrary Loan. Go back to WorldCat using the back button
and click on the link “Request document through ILL,” and then on “Request a copy
from another library”. Log in with the information requested, check
to be sure everything is correct, and submit the request.
And that is how to use the WorldCat database. If you need additional assistance please contact
an AU Librarian via IM, email or phone.

Danny Hutson

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