Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Search Nearby Libraries for Materials With One Simple Search - WorldCat

worldcat1 My local library has an online site where I can search for books, CD's, DVD's etc.  It's a decent way of finding materials, but sometimes they don't have what I'm looking for.  So then I have to go to another library's site (there are more then one library networks in my City) and search on their site.  To make matters worse, on both of those sites, I'm required to have a membership to search.  What I want is one place to search for any type of library materials that will tell me which library's have that book (or whatever content) ranked by how close they are to me.  Enter WorldCat.

WorldCat is a publicly accessible, online web search that delves into the holdings of all types of libraries throughout the world.  It includes over 57,000 libraries in 112 countries!  Tell it what book, magazine, journal, video etc. you're looking for along with your zip code or city, and lists the nearest library's that have the book.   A nonprofit organization called the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) created the database and site.

What other things can WorldCat do?  It also includes services such as citation exporting, list making, & text samples. You can even use it to create a private or public index of titles.  Also has the ability to search public lists created by others.  There's a place to read & write reviews of materials right in their catalog.  Also included are Amazon & Worldcat purchase links if you just want to purchase the book or other media you were searching for.


First, head over to and type in a search term.  If you don't specify your zip code, it will go based on your internet service's zip.


Next, you'll see a list of results for your search.  In this case I searched for Harry Potter so it will bring up all of the different Harry Potter books, audiotapes, DVD's etc.


Next after you select one of the books etc, you'll see a list of results ranked in order of the closest libraries.  All types of libraries are included such as local community libraries, university libraries etc.)


At the top of the results page, you can see there are many different things you can do from here including further searches by category, purchase from, add it to your personal favorite list, review the item, view other peoples notes/reviews on the item etc.


Bottom line, WorldCat is a great service that I'll be bookmarking for future reference.

Check it out at