What is WorldCat?
WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information.
What am I searching?
WorldCat.org lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world. WorldCat grows every day thanks to the efforts of librarians and other information professionals.
What will I find?
You can search for popular books, music CDs and videos—all of the physical items you’re used to getting from libraries. You can also discover many new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks. You may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren’t available to the public. Because WorldCat libraries serve diverse communities in dozens of countries, resources are available in many languages.
Can I check something out?
It depends on whether you have an active membership with a library that owns the item, and whether that library’s Web site permits remote checkout of an item. WorldCat.org lets you find an item of interest and then locate a library near you that owns it. Usually you will link directly to the item record on the library’s Web site. The actions available to you on that page will vary from one library to another. You may be able to join a waiting list, reserve the item, check it out or even have it shipped or delivered.
Can I get into electronic databases?
Some WorldCat libraries make their specialized reference databases available on their Web sites, but only to library members. Your search on WorldCat.org may produce direct links to articles and other resources in these databases. To access these resources, though, you may first be required to log in with a valid library membership.
Can I ask for help from a librarian?
Yes! WorldCat results often include a direct link to the “Ask a Librarian” help feature of a library’s Web site.
Can I add information to WorldCat?
Yes! On the WorldCat page for a particular item, you can enter a rating and review under the “Reviews” tab, and contribute factual notes or a book’s table of contents under the “Details” tab. Note that only you can modify or delete your own review, but other users can edit information that has been contributed under Details (similar to Wikipedia).
Can I search WorldCat at my local library?
Your library may let you search WorldCat from the online catalog on its Web site. (Again, you may have to log in with a valid library membership.) When you are physically at the library, you can search WorldCat using the FirstSearch reference service. Although the basic identifying information you’ll find on this Web site can fulfill most needs, WorldCat at your library includes extra features such as:
- Advanced search
- “Find similar items”
- Links to published reviews and excerpts
WorldCat.org lets you:
- Search many libraries at once for an item and then locate it in a library nearby
- Find books, music, and videos to check out
- Find research articles and digital items (like audiobooks) that can be directly viewed or downloaded
- Link to “Ask a Librarian” and other services at your library
- Post your review of an item, or contribute factual information about it
You may need to have an active offline membership with a WorldCat library to view/download content or check out materials through its Web site.