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OCLC Support

Advanced search and expert search

Find information about using the advanced and expert search as well as setting your advanced search user preferences.

Advanced search

Use the advanced search to perform a more in-depth search than the Basic search allows. You can combine up to five indexes and apply limits to retrieve a more precise set of search results.

  1. On the left navigation, click Discover Items.
  2. Click Advanced Search.
  3. On the Advanced Search window, select the Search Scope:
    • Select My Library Holdings if you already have at least one copy of the item.
    • Select My Group Holdings to search for items held by any institution in your group. My Group Holdings is available only to WMS libraries with group aware.
    • Select All WorldCat if you do not own any copies of the item.
    • If enabled, select an Audience Level as the Search Scope:
      • Audience- All Users
      • Audience- My Library Users
      • Audience- My Authenticated Users
      • Audience- My Library Staff
  4. Select an Index from the list. For a list of all indexes, see Indexes.
  5. Based on the index you selected, enter your search terms into the search field.
  6. Optional. Enter up to five combinations of indexes and search terms:
    • Click the Add button (Add button) to add an index and the Remove button (Remove button) to remove an index.
    • Select a Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) for each index that you add.
  7. Fill out the remaining fields. See Advanced search settings below for details.
  8. Click Search.

Advanced search settings

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

Setting Description
Abbreviated-level records only Select the check box to search for bibliographic records in WorldCat with an encoding level of 3. For more information on encoding levels, see Abbreviated-level cataloging guidelines in Bibliographic Formats and Standards.
Format(s) Select one or more formats from the list. Format is defined in the WorldCat record. For more information, see Material Type Names and Codes.
Languages(s) Language of the item. Select one or more languages from the list.
Language(s) of Cataloging Language used for the description of the item. Select one or more languages from the list.
Reset Click Reset to clear out all fields on the Advanced Search window. If you have Set your advanced search user preferences (see below), the search will reset to your default preferences.
Source of Cataloging

Select the source of cataloging from the list:

  • Any
  • DLC: Library of Congress
Year(s) Limits a search by year. Enter a single year or a range.

Set your advanced search user preferences

If you frequently use the advanced search, you can set your preferences for the search scopes. When you set user preferences, the options you select will appear when you open the Advanced Search window.

  1. On the left navigation, click Discover Items.
  2. Click User Preferences.
  3. On the User Preferences screen, click Searching - Advanced to open the accordion.
  4. For Default Search Results Format, enable Display condensed result list to set the default search results format to condensed. By default, the search results format is enhanced.
  5. For Condensed Search Results Table Options:
    1. Select which columns appear in the condensed search results list table. You must enable at least one column.
      • To remove a column, deselect it in the Display column.
      • Available condensed search results table columns
        • Title
        • Author
        • Edition
        • OCLC Number
        • Publisher
        • Publication Date
        • Format
        • Language of Work
        • Language of Cataloging
        • Cataloging Source
        • Authentication Code
        • Encoding Level
        • Held
        • WorldCat Holdings
        • Holding Audience Level
    2. Determine the order in which the columns appear in the condensed search results list table.
      • Click the up arrow to move a column up and the down arrow to move a column down in the list.
  6. Select the Sorting Method. The Sorting Method determines how your search results are listed.
  7. Select one or more Language(s) of Cataloging.
  8. Select a Source of Cataloging.
  9. For Search Scope(s) for Bibliographic Records:
    1. Select which search scopes appear in the Scope drop-down list.
      • To disable a search scope, deselect it in the Display column.
    2. Select the default search scope by enabling the Default radio button for the search scope. By default, All WorldCat is selected.
    3. Determine the order in which the search scopes appear in the Scope drop-down list.
      • Click the up arrow to move a search scope up and the down arrow to move a search scope down in the list.
  10. For the first enabled search scope, click the search scope name and then select the following:
    1. For Default Sorting Method, select how your search results are sorted.
      All WorldCat default sorting methods
      • Author (Ascending)
      • Author (Descending)
      • Date (Newest First)
      • Date (Oldest First)
      • Library Count (Highest First)
      • Library Count (Lowest First)
      • Relevance (default)
      • Title (Ascending)
      • Title (Descending)
      My Library Holdings default sorting methods
      • Author (Ascending)
      • Author (Descending)
      • Date (Newest First)
      • Date (Oldest First)
      • Library Count (Highest First)
      • Library Count (Lowest First)
      • Relevance (default)
      • Title (Ascending)
      • Title (Descending
    2. For Index Display Order:
      1. Select which indexes appear in the Index drop-down list. By default, all indexes are selected.
      2. Select the default index by enabling the Default radio button for the index. By default, the following indexes are selected:
        • All WorldCat: Author
        • My Library Holdings: Keyword
      3. Determine the order in which the indexes appear in the Index drop-down list.
        • Click the up arrow to move an index up and the down arrow to move an index down in the list.
      4. Click Go Back and repeat step 11 for the remaining search scope.
    3. Click Save.
  11. Click Save on the User Preferences screen.
  12. (Optional) Click Reset to apply the default preferences you selected.

Expert search

Use the expert search to perform a complete search in a single string. An expert search is made up of a combination of index labels and search terms. With the use of Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), you can search through several indexes at once and apply limits at the same time. Expert searches can be performed in the basic search area or the advanced search window.

  1. On the left navigation, click Discover Items.
  2. From the first list, select a search scope. See Look up item for details.
    • Select My Library Holdings if you already have at least one copy of the item.
    • Select My Group Holdings to search for items held by any institution in your group. My Group Holdings is available only to WMS libraries with group aware.
    • Select All WorldCat if you do not own any copies of the item.
    • If enabled, select an Audience Level as the Search Scope:
      • Audience- All Users
      • Audience- My Library Users
      • Audience- My Authenticated Users
      • Audience- My Library Staff
  3. From the second list, select any index other than OCLC Number. An expert search will not work if this index is selected.
  4. In the search field, enter your expert search in this format: [Index label][Search terms]
    • For example: ti:girl dragon tattoo mt:nsr pb=random house
    • When you are performing an expert search with multiple indexes, the Boolean AND is implied. If you are using the Boolean operators OR or NOT, you must type the operator and use capital letters.
  5. Click Search.