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WorldCat

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

Layout of the Search Results Screen

Regardless of the type of search that you conduct in WorldCat, the format of your results list page will look close to what you see below:

Notice there are two columns. The left column, discussed in the next section of this tutorial, allows you to change your search criteria.

Your list of results is displayed in the larger right panel. Many items in the list may include pictures of the cover art for specific resources. At the top of your results list, there are several features to help you more easily navigate inside WorldCat. Note the option to “Save to” above the first item in your list of results. An image of this option is shown below:

If you want to save anything in WorldCat, you must first sign up for a free account. This is a completely free resource and will not send you spam or solicitation emails. Look toward the top right of your screen for the links to “Sign in” or “create a free account” if you wish to save any of your search results for later use. An image of this is shown below:

Please note that account creation will only save your access to these records and not to the full text of any item. For instructions on creating your account, please proceed through this tutorial.

The far right side of the search results screen displays your options for sorting your list of results. You can sort by relevance to the terms that you entered. You can sort alphabetically by author or title. You can also sort by the year of publication to place newer (or older) items near the top of the list for easier retrieval. An image of the sort dropdown menu is shown below:

Note also the page navigation options above the sort menu. It’s a better practice to use these navigational options within WorldCat than your browser’s back button. Often the back button will take you back to the first page in your list of results, but these internal navigation options will return you back to the exact point you were in your search results before clicking on a particular title.

 

Limiting Your Results after Searching

If you decide, after a keyword search for example, that your list of results is too large, you can narrow your list of results by using the options in the boxes on the left side of your search results screen. These options are divided into two categories: Format and Refine Your Search.

You can expand or collapse these options using the dropdown arrow next to the title. An image of the options collapsed appears below:

Once expanded, you’ll see the wide array of options for limiting your search results. An image of the expanded options appears below:

In the Format box, you can limit items by broad category (article, book, and video are some of the options). The number to the right of each option is the number of items in your list of search results that will be provided if you limit by that option. You can also limit within the broad categories. For example, when searching for a video resource, you may want a specific format, like DVD. Checking the box next to DVD, rather than the box next to Video, will limit your results to only items that are in DVD format. You can select the “Show more…” link at the bottom of the box to see even more options!

The Refine Your Search box, located directly under the Format box in the left menu, is shown in the image below:

There are six limitation options provided- Author, Year, Language, Content, Audience, and Topic. A “Show more…” option is available within each of these broad categories and at the very bottom of the box with options for additional broad categories. Note that limiting by Author will limit your search results to the country in which the item was published, not the author of a specific work.

Clicking on anything in Format or Refine Your Search will automatically adjust your search results to comply with whatever category you’ve selected. You can select multiple categories in each of the boxes. To return to your original list of results without limitations in the Format box, simply remove the checkmark next to the options you had previously selected. In the Refine Your Search box, you’ll be given an option to view all of your search results again within that specific category. For example, we limited our search results to only those items published in 2016. Our options in the Refine Your Search box under Year changed to provide us with an option to show “All Years.” An image of this is shown below:

Selecting the “All Years” will undo the limitation for only those items published in 2016.