What is WorldCat?
WorldCat contains all the bibliographic records (with holdings information) cataloged by OCLC member libraries including books, manuscripts, computer data files, maps, computer programs, musical scores, films and slides, newspapers, videotapes, sound recordings, journals and magazines (though it does not include book chapters or individual articles). The database currently comprises over one billion records and is updated daily. Users may link directly to the owning library’s online catalog to determine if the item is available.
Ways to access WorldCat
RRLC libraries and their users have two ways to access WorldCat: WorldCat via FirstSearch, which requires a subscription and WorldCat.org, available on the Open Web without restriction. Both types of access are available to RRLC member libraries and library systems.
WorldCat via FirstSearch
FirstSearch is an electronic information service that provides web-based access to the WorldCat database. RRLC members are eligible to access WorldCat via FirstSearch using an authorization/password provided through RRLC’s shared subscription. In addition, RRLC has created a set of instructions "Optimizing WorldCat" that will both highlight items held locally and list local holdings first.
Why use WorldCat via FirstSearch?
- Highlight which titles are held by RRLC libraries
- Show local libraries first in list of libraries owning a title
- Customize for individual library
- Create customized groups of libraries that are often searched
- Extensive search capabilities
- Shows all holdings locations without need to enter zip code
Setting up Access to WorldCat
Once you have your authorization and password, you can learn how to set up access for your library by downloading the instructions [pdf format]. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Miller or Janet Altimonda at the RRLC office.
WorldCat.org is a simple to use interface, designed to make the collections of OCLC participating libraries more visible to web users and to increase awareness of libraries as a primary source of reliable information. WorldCat.org is freely available, requiring no authorization or password.
Searching is done via the WorldCat search box using simple keywords. Linked results lead to a “Find in a Library” page, allowing users to enter geographic information such as a zip code to produce a list of nearby libraries owning the item. Users may link directly to the owning library’s online catalog to determine if the item is available.
Finding Local Library Holdings in WorldCat
Searching WorldCat.org provides access to the complete WorldCat database, but specific library holdings are retrieved only for libraries that have contributed holdings to the OCLC database and have a subscription to FirstSearch WorldCat. RRLC provides ways for libraries to meet these criteria. For additional information, contact the RRLC office.
Why use WorldCat?
Simple to use for easy searches
No login required
Comparison of WorldCat’s public views
How to obtain items located through WorldCat
You are able to e-mail WorldCat records to your ILL contacts for the purpose of obtaining loans from RRLC member libraries. If you previously used the ROARing Cat e-mail feature to request from other RRLC member libraries, you can now send a WorldCat record via e-mail. If you are a school library, you should e-mail WorldCat records to your SLS ILL office and the ILL request will be forwarded on your behalf.
The following methods allow you to send WorldCat records as pages or as links.
WorldCat Local "quick start" from OCLC NEWLibraries with a web accessible ILS, may be interested in implementing WorldCat Local "quick start”. It is now included in a subscription to WorldCat on FirstSearch at no additional charge. Subscribers through the RRLC shared subscription are eligible. WorldCat Local “quick start” provides a single search result that delivers a display of a local library’s holdings first, followed by the holdings of other WorldCat libraries.
Other features available to libraries using WorldCat Local “quick start”:
- Local branding of a WorldCat search box, URL and user interface
- Links to your existing OpenURL resolver for access from the over 58 million article citations in WorldCat.org to the online full text to which libraries subscribe
- Integration of existing OCLC delivery/interlibrary loan services (WorldCat Resource Sharing, ILLiad)
- Interoperability with a single local library catalog for real-time item availability information and place holds
- Access to the same social networking tools available on WorldCat.org
WorldCat Local, a more advanced level service from OCLC available for a fee, l provides libraries with the following additional functionality:
- Group-level searching
- Interoperability with a second integrated library system (ILS)
- Additional integration of your library's print, electronic and digital materials, making it an even better way to help users find exactly what they want
Please note: Availability of interoperability features will vary by ILS. Interoperability is available now for most libraries with the following integrated library systems and methods: Ex Libris Aleph (Z39.50), Ex Libris Voyager, SirsiDynix Horizon, SirsiDynix Unicorn and Symphony, Innovative Interfaces Millennium and INNOPAC.
Libraries with other Web-accessible ILSs will benefit from features such as local branding, ranked search results and links to existing services now. Expanded access to real-time availability interoperability will be added in phases, beginning with a prominent link to library catalogs later in 2009 and a method for libraries to create their own interoperability with WorldCat in 2010.
Want to learn more?
- Sign up for an introductory webinar.
For specific questions about your institution and WorldCat Local "quick start," e-mail at email@example.com.
RRLC has created a Powerpoint tutorial providing a comprehensive review of WorldCat via FirstSearch, using the Basic, Advanced or Expert Search modes.
What is World Cat? Navigation Tips Slide 2-9
An introduction to the screen interface
Basic Search Slide 10-12
Easiest way to search WorldCat
Advanced Search Slide 13-43
Best way to make use of WorldCat’s extensive searching capabilities
Working with Search Results Slide 35-43
Sorting, Limiting, Ranking, Library Ownership
Detailed Records Slide 47-54
Provides detailed information contained in a record
Expert Searching Slide 55-59
Allows for complex searching using Boolean and proximity operators
- bc:BC year
- dd:Dewey Decimal Classification number
- ge:genre, like a novel
- isbn:the ten-digit number for a book
- issn:the eight-digit number for a magazine or journal
- mt:material type, like a DVD
- pb:publisher, like Ballantine
- yr:year of publication
Get the whole list from the OCLC Web site.