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OCLC Support

Types of searches

Discover how to search WorldCat using word, phrase, whole phrase, number, and number phrase searches.

Before your search term, use index labels in the correct format to specify which indexes you want to search. If you do not specify an index label, the default index (Keyword) will be searched.

Index Label Formats
Label Type of Search
xx: Word or number search
xx= Phrase or number phrase search — complete subfield
xxw= Whole phrase search — complete field. Primarily for Connexion.
(where x represents an alphanumeric character)


  • In a Connexion command line search and in a FirstSearch expert search, index labels are not required for the following searches if they are the first or only elements of a full syntax search:
    • Derived searches
    • ISBN search
    • OCLC number search preceded by an asterisk (*) or number sign (#)
  • In WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery, the index label is not required for:
    • ISBN searches
    • ISSN searches
    • Government document number


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