Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WorldCat: A Candy Shop for Book-lovers!

The WorldCat database, which can be accessed through GALILEO, is not only a valuable database for researchers, it’s an addictive one for book-lovers. As one of my colleagues has said, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. WorldCat provides citations and information for practically every book (DVD, CD, periodical, etc.) held in any library in the US (and many in other countries), and tells you which libraries have it. WorldCat has many uses:
  • You can get full citation information for a book.
  • You can identify all books published by an author, or see if your author has published anything new recently.
  • You can identify the most recent edition of a book (especially important for textbooks).
  • You can see which libraries have a book.
  • If you’re looking for a short story, you may be able to identify books in which it’s been published. Many story collections have “contents notes” listing the stories they contain. Similarly, you can search for plays published in anthologies, essays, etc.
  • You can check whether a film or TV program has come out on DVD.
  • If you’re looking for an individual song or short piece of music, you may be able to identify CDs on which it has appeared (or music scores than contain it).
  • By doing a subject search, you can identify books on a given topic (and by using the date function in the Advanced search, you can see what’s been published recently—or about to be published).

Please see me at the Reference desk of Lewis Library if I can help you in using WorldCat, or if you want to order a book or music score from another library on interlibrary loan.

*This blog post authored by Reference and ILL librarian Arthur Robinson on behalf of Lewis Library. "Reading is a treat!" image by Doss Elementary, WorldCat screen shot by Arthur Robinson, Photo of Lewis Library Reference Desk by Rachel Evans.

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