Be a Search Ninja in WorldCat LocalPosted: January 7, 2015
What we have labeled “Library Catalog” on the University Library’s webpage http://louisville.edu/library is really far more than a catalog of books or even books UofL owns. If you have used it, you probably have discovered all kinds of other materials: videos, government documents, archival documents, magazine and journal articles, and more. You probably have also realized that your search results may also include items not available at UofL but at other libraries around the world which show up in the WorldCat Local database.
In addition, the database changes daily due to additions from libraries around the world as well as updates from database providers such as Medline. So, your search results today won’t necessarily match your search results from yesterday.
While you may have searched the Library Catalog/WorldCat Local, you may not have had time to really play with it. Below are some search tips that will allow you to dig deeper into the contents of the database and have more precision with your searches. If you would like more information on searching WorldCat Local, please contact a librarian!
Having trouble looking for the title of something? Try adding ti: to the beginning of your search.
Example ti: Immunology
This is especially helpful for one-word titles or titles which have lots of words in common with other titles.
If you know the author, you can create an even more powerful search by adding au: author’s name
Example ti: Shiver au:stiefvater
Just like in Google, quotation marks can be used to search adjoining words as a phrase.
Example “The Sun Also Rises”
Want to search for variations on words?
You can use the * to find variations of a word ending or # to replace a specific character.
There are MANY more fields you can search specifically such as Library of Congress subject headings (hl:) or MESH (hm:). See the full list here: http://www.oclc.org/support/services/worldcat-local/documentation/expert_examples_WorldCat_Local.en.html
Are you a real library geek who enjoys using Boolean operators? You can use them in WCL too, but keep in mind there are still other factors that affect the results set such as whether we own the item. Generally, the Boolean logic seems to apply well in some cases but not others due to the complexity of the search algorithm.
The default operator is AND, so any words you enter will be joined using AND unless you use one of the other two operators OR and NOT. You can also use the | or – signs if you prefer.
Example moon OR stars
Example moon | stars
Example moon NOT stars
Example moon -stars
Use of the facets on the lefthand side can be used to sift through the abundance of results when your search returns more than you anticipated. So for example, if you are looking for a book, often book reviews of the book will show up in your results. You can remove these by using the Book facet on the left.
Some limits can be added to the search before you complete it by using the Advanced Search link.
In this area, you can add or remove additional databases to broaden or narrow your search. Unfortunately, some databases such as Medline, ERIC, GPO, and British Library Serials cannot be removed. They are a part of the OCLC WorldCat Local database.
In the Advanced Search, you can search for a date range, something you cannot do post-search with the date facets.
For a step-by-step tutorial on Advanced Search in WCL, see http://www5.oclc.org/downloads/tutorials/worldcatlocal/advnsrch/default.htm