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Search and use query syntax

About searching

Notes about searching in WorldCat Discovery:

  • By default, searching from the search box in WorldCat Discovery will automatically apply the keyword index
  • Searches that contain index labels and Boolean operators can be entered in any search box  in WorldCat Discovery
  • When searching on the Advanced Search screen, if you use an index in a search field, you must use indexes for all search terms
  • An AND boolean operator is inferred when using search terms without quotes or parenthesis

An index is two characters followed by a colon (:) or by an equal sign (=).

  • Use a colon to search for the words anywhere in the specified index. For example: rs:unrestricted
  • Use an equal sign to perform a phrase search. For example: rs=unrestricted online access

For additional information, see Searching WorldCat Indexes.

Frequently used indexes and syntax

Boolean operators

WorldCat Discovery supports the use of (ANDORNOT). Boolean operators must be capitalized.

Index labels combined with Boolean operators can be entered in any search box in including the multiple search boxes on the Advanced Search screen. Boolean searches are processed in left to right order.

For additional information, see Boolean operators in Searching WorldCat Indexes.

Approximate term queries

There are three operators for approximate term queries: asterisk(*), and question mark(?) or pound sign(#):

Enter the first three characters of the term (at a minimum) and follow with an asterisk (*).

Example of terms in search results: securit-y, securit-ies, or securit-ization
Example of search: securit*

Enter the first three characters of the term (at a minimum) and follow with a wildcard. WorldCat Discovery supports the use of two wildcard characters the pound sign (#) and the question mark (?).

Use the pound sign to represent a single character.
Use the question mark to match missing (zero) and up to nine characters including no additional characters.

For additional information, see Wildcards and truncation in Searching WorldCat Indexes.

Search for other items by author from search results

To view additional works by an author from the search results list, click on the authors name. A search is performed in the author phrase index to return other items by the selected author. Author names are automatically searched using last name, first name order. An entity or single author name that is not present in the 100 or 700 field will be searched within quotation marks.

Save searches

To reproduce search queries repeatedly, WorldCat Discovery staff and users with a WorldCat Discovery account can save searches to their user account.

After signing into your WorldCat Discovery account:

 Note: A limit of 100 search queries can be saved.

To view your saved searches, click on Saved Searches in the banner or click on the drop-down associated with your account and select My Saved Searches.


Watch a video

Search techniques in WorldCat Discovery (7:35)

This video demonstrates a few search techniques in the current view of WorldCat Discovery.

 Learn more in a training course: WorldCat Discovery search fundamentals


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