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OCLC Support

Perform a catalog search

Discover how to perform basic and advanced searches in WorldCat.org.

Perform a basic search

  1. Enter your search terms in the search field. This is an auto-suggest text field. Auto-suggestions for field-appropriate elements start after the third keystroke in the text field.
  2. (Optional) By default, WorldCat.org searches all fields and subfields of an item record. You can click [search term] in Books to limit your search to books only or click [search term] in Title to limit your search to title fields only.
    • If you click [search term] in Books, your search term will be searched in books and all relevant subformats.
  3. Click Search. Your results appear, sorted by relevance.
  4. Click an item title to view the Item Details screen.

Perform an advanced search

Advanced search allows you to construct more complex searches by entering keywords for multiple indexes and limiting your results by year, format, and language.

  1. Click the Advanced Search button (Advanced Search button ). The Advanced Search dialog opens.
  2. Select an index from the Index drop-down list. By default, an advanced search runs a Keyword search. See Available WorldCat.org search indexes for more information.
  3. Enter your search term(s) in the text field.
  4. (Optional) Enter up to five combinations of indexes and search terms:
    • Select a Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) for each index that you add.
    • Click the Add button (Add button) to add a fourth and/or fifth index and the Remove button (Remove button) to remove the fourth and/or fifth index.
  5. (Optional) Fill out the remaining fields. See Advanced search settings for details.
  6. Click Search. Your results appear, sorted by relevance.
  7. Click an item title to view the Item Details screen.

Advanced search settings

This table describes all of the fields you can use in the Advanced Search dialog (you are not required to fill in all the fields):

Setting Description
Year Limits the search by year. Enter a single year or a range.
Format Format of the item. Select a format from the drop-down list.

Format is defined in the WorldCat record. See format/document type values and codes for more information.
Language Language of the item. Select a language from the drop-down list.

Available WorldCat.org search indexes

This table lists the search indexes available in WorldCat.org. Click an index name to open a detailed description.

Index name Type Label Appears in Advanced search dialog Example
Access Method Word am:   am:usgs
Author Word au: x au:gay
Phrase au=   au:gay roxane
Canadian Class Number Number ca:   ca:pn1994
Canadian Subject Word he:   he:explorers
Corporate/Conference Subject Whole Phrase nc:   nc: world conference on women
Government Document Number Number gn:   gn:nas12sp146
ISBN Number bn: x bn:9780525536291
ISSN Number in: x in:0270-5346
Journal Name Word so: x so:signs
Keyword Word kw: x kw:intersectional
LCCN Number nl:   nl:32000014
Number phrase nl=   nl=2002-580246
LCSH Word hl:   hl:fractions
Phrase hl=   hl=authors american
Music/Publisher Number Word mn:   mn:SP1106
OCLC Number Number no: x no:918590664
Personal Name Word pn:   pn:lynch
Phrase pn=   pn=lynch, david
Publisher Word pb: x pb:macmillan
Phrase pb=   pb=simon & schuster
Subject Word su: x su:nonfiction
Phrase su=   su=historical fiction
Title Word ti: x ti:cultish
Phrase ti=   ti=the vanishing half