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ENG 500

A guide to research skills for English studies grad students.

The catalog vs Library Search

You can find the catalog on the library homepage.  You can either search just the library catalog or search the catalog as part of the Library search tool.  If you are looking specifically for books or videos, searching just the catalog is often your better bet. 

 

Videos on using the WCU library catalog

Catalog basics

 

Requesting print books for pickup or mailing

Options for looking beyond the WCU catalog

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.

  • Worldcat.org
    • pros:  really large catalog of catalogs, including tons of really old books; easy to see how widely held a book is; uses subject headings
    • cons:  the search interface is kind of terrible; often multiple, slightly different entries for a book or for different editions of  a book
  • 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.
West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400