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This guide provides users with an overview of the free WorldCat catalog to seek locally available print materials.

What is WorldCat?

WorldCat is a world-wide catalog of library resources. These resources are housed at both public and academic libraries. One of the best features within WorldCat is the ability to search for locally available items from multiple libraries in a single search. You don't have to call or drive anywhere before you know if an item is in fact available and within reach!

This guide is also printable! Click the link below to pull off a PDF copy of the entire guide!

Why Use WorldCat?

WorldCat can be a handy resource for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few:

  • If you live in Ohio, you have access to a service called PickUp Anywhere. This allows you to request items from other OhioLINK institutions (academic and large public libraries) and have those items sent to an OhioLINK pick-up location closer to where you live. Most of the time, OhioLINK's PickUp Anywhere capabilities may provide you with the resources that you need. But... there are still many small public libraries and academic institutions that are not signed on to the OhioLINK consortium. This means there are still potentially millions of resources out there- in local archives and special collections in particular- and you won't be able to find those materials by searching OhioLINK or DragonQuest, the library's catalog. Many of these hidden gems, however, can still be found through WorldCat. If you are conducting in-depth research and are not able to find what is needed through DragonQuest or OhioLINK, WorldCat is an excellent option.
  • If you do not live in Ohio, we may offer access to our print collection, but you have to be willing to pay shipping. This process can be longer than driving to a local library for the same item. WorldCat tells you what is available and where before you make the drive to a neighborhood library. All you have to do is search by zip code, and WorldCat tells you the approximate distance to each holding library. You can even view directions on how to get there! If it's still too far to drive, print the WorldCat record out and take it to your local library. Many public libraries have InterLibrary Loan available, so they might be able to place a request and have that item mailed to your local library at no cost to you.
  • It's free. You just can't beat free!

Access WorldCat

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