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DMIN-787 Methods for Ministry Course Guide: WorldCat

Library support for Methods for Ministry Research DMin course

What Is WorldCat?

WorldCat is the largest union library catalog in the world!

  • What does WorldCat catalog? Not just books, dissertations, and journals, but also CDs, DVDs, musical scores, Web pages, and much more.
  • Who created WorldCat and when? OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) is a library cooperative that in 1971 launched the initiative that would eventually create the WorldCat database (1998). The 72,000-member libraries in 170 countries continue to build the WorldCat database by adding an average of one new record per second.
  • What is the mission of OCLC? To improve "access to the information held in libraries around the globe" and reduce costs through collaboration.
  • What I am searching exactly when I search WorldCat? The holdings of member libraries around the world.
  • Practically speaking, what can WorldCat do for me as a researcher? Besides allowing you to search the world's largest union catalog, it provides an easy way for you to request interlibrary loans of books not held by the ORU Library.
  • What does WorldCat look like? It currently has two interfaces: FirstSearch and the Web version. See the images on the right.

As of December 2017, WorldCat contains more than 400 million bibliographic records with over 2.6 billion holdings records.


5 Uses for WorldCat

  1. To initiate an interlibrary loan request for a book or a dissertation from another library.
  2. To find out what books a particular author has written.
  3. To see what books other libraries might have on a particular topic beyond what the ORU Library offers.
  4. To locate a nearby library that owns a book that is not accessible through theORU Library.
  5. To find out whether a book written in a language you don't know has been translated into a language you do know.

Search Options Available in the FirstSearch Interface

Simple Search: Search by keyword, author, title, ISBN, and/or year.

Advanced Search: Search by the simple search fields plus many more including material type, publisher, and ISSN.

Limit Options: On the advanced search and on any results page, a search may be limited by year, language, and number of libraries as well as by type, such as books, internet resources, visual materials, sound recordings, serials, musical scores, and maps, and even subtypes such as dissertations, fiction, non-fiction, juvenile, non-juvenile, braille, etc. Limit by author or subject headings by clicking the limit button in the gray tool bar at the top.

Sort Options: On any results page, where there is more than one or fewer than 501 results, either select the Sort icon Sort at the top of the screen or click the Options link in the Navigation menu. Choose how you want the list sorted and select Set to sort.

Expert Search: This search box allow you to enter logical search strings, which are made up of search terms prefaced by field codes (e.g., ti: or au:) and combined with Boolean operators (AND, OR, or NOT) and/or special characters. You may need to ask a librarian for help in constructing such a search strategy.


WorldCat Interfaces

Screenshot of First Search's WorldCat Interface

Screenshot of the interface