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WorldCat is a catalog of materials held by libraries worldwide. Primarily a tool to search books, it also includes periodicals, sound recordings, musical scores, videos, manuscripts, and maps.

How to Search in WorldCat?

There are two search interfaces for the WorldCat catalog, and while they search the same content, there are some key differences between them:

  • WorldCat FirstSearch
    • The initial search screen provides various options for creating specific searches, thus allowing for the precise and nuanced searching experienced researchers and library staff often need.
    • Displays “unclustered” view of editions and formats, meaning all editions and formats of a particular title will appear as separate entries
    • The First Search interface is a paid subscription, so users from off-campus must authenticate using their WUSTL Key and password.
    • The search interface is the single search box style preferred by many users; searchers may select the Advanced Search option to create a more precise initial search
    • Users may refine their results list by applying filters such as date range, subject, format, and more
    • With a “My WorldCat” account, users may run lists on particular subjects or other search parameters and save, share, or export metadata to spreadsheets
    • Requires no WUSTL Key authentication

When Should I Use WorldCat?

WorldCat is a great tool for finding if a book on a topic has been published. In addition, the records can be quite enhanced in several cases including a table of contents and expanded terms. Washington University Libraries holdings are included and noted; ebooks and materials added within the last 30 days, however, will not be indicated.

Need Help?

Questions? Ask your subject librarian or our 24/7 Ask Us! chat service.