WorldCat searches the holdings of libraries from all over the world, as well as content from thousands of journals and millions of electronic books and web-accessible documents. The interface may vary depending on your university/college library access or if you are using the free WorldCat version which allows you to make a free account.

When to Use It

WorldCat is good for quick searches on a topic, as a starting point, identifying what books might be available for a topic, and for interdisciplinary topics. However, despite its size, it is not all-inclusive. It does not search all journals and databases, and full-text searching is limited.

How to Use It

To access WorldCat, look carefully on your library’s homepage to see if there is an access point.

Look for: Books and more, catalogs, or a database list. Click on the link and commence searching.  Keep in mind that you can use a free version and identify where books may be located.

Free WorldCat Interface

Narrowing Searches

  • As discussed in precision searching, use a variety of search term combinations to find books and other materials
  • When you find appropriate resources, scan the record for additional terms that may be useful for further searching.


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Critical Thinking in Academic Research Copyright © 2022 by Cindy Gruwell and Robin Ewing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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