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HIS 300

A guide to HIS 300 research worksheets.

What is WorldCat?

WorldCat is a catalog that includes records from thousands of libraries around the world.  This makes it a great place to go when you are doing in-depth research and are really trying to find every book on a topic.  Free access to WorldCat is provided through their web interface Worldcat.org.

Tips for searching WorldCat.org

The video below shows you:

  • how to use the advanced search in WorldCat.org to do different types of searches
  • where to find subject headings in WorldCat.org
  • how to find out if WCU libraries has a book you find in WorldCat.org

Options beyond WorldCat.org

WorldCat is a great resources, but its size and the number of people who import records into it can make it very messy and hard to search.  I think this has gotten significantly more problematic over the last few years.  If you are struggling with WorldCat, here are some other options.

  • Amazon.com
    • pros:  familiar interface; will often give book previews/show table of contents
    • cons:  has an advanced search, but it isn't that good; does not use subject heading; lots of non-scholarly books show up
  • Google books
    • pros: familiar interface; best for book previews; often has full text of pre-1923 books (out of copyright); links to Worldcat (Find in a Library feature)
    • cons:  does not use subject headings; lots of non-scholarly books show up
  • Catalog of another university.  Most academic libraries still allow their catalogs to be searched by anyone.  So you can take a subject heading you found in the WCU catalog and try it in the catalog of a bigger and/or wealthier university (Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, UC-Berkele, etc.).
    • pros:  subject heading searching; less messy than WorldCat
    • cons:  unfamiliar interface, no way to quick check if WCU libraries own the book.
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