Using WorldCat

As a genealogist, you have probably searched the catalog for your local library. Now, imagine searching a catalog that contains the contents of multiple libraries, and gives you a way to locate a copy of the book that you find. WorldCat is the Online Union Catalog from the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), which is a global library cooperative.

When you find out where the book is held, you can visit or contact your own local library to arrange an inter-library loan.

WorldCat can be found at

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I created an account. To create a free account, you need to create a user name and password, provide an e-mail address, and verify that you are 13 years or older.


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The example search was: 51st Pioneer Infantry

There were eleven (11) results.


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The results looked interesting, so I saved the search.


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A window popped open to allow me to name the search and add a description.


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I annotated it with information about my Grandfather’s Company.


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At a future time, the search can be run again to see if new information has been published or added to WorldCat.

The first result is Newspapers, and I clicked on the first title


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Then I clicked on “Borrow / obtain a copy“. I then scrolled down to the bottom to find the places near to me that have the item.


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The second item was a book about the 5th annual reunion of the 51st Pioneer Infantry.


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This item has seven pages and is held at the New York State Library in Albany, NY. It looks like a program from the reunion.


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I clicked on the link for “United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 51st.”, which generated asearch with that organization as author and the results. (au:United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 51st.)


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There were 19 results. Many were from the Civil War, and from states other than New York.

Result #10 is:


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Looking at the record for the Company Roster informs me that the roster is held at USAHEC.

And this is one of the documents that I was originally looking at:

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I decided to create a list to save the relevant results.

Check the box next to the result, make sure Save to: shows “New List” from the dropdown menu. (It is the default.)

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Since the list is new, I am prompted to Create New List, choosing a name and privacy settings.


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The list is named 51st Pioneer Infantry and is set to Visible Only To Me (Private).


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The selected item was put on the new list.


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I added other items to this list.

From the page for a result, you can choose “Add to list”.

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You can add to an existing list, or create a list. Your lists can be public or private.


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To see the lists and searches, select My Profile on the Home Page.


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Or click on your username in the upper right hand corner of any page.


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From the profile page, I can view my Lists and Saved Searches.


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Searches can be run from here, or I can select “Saved Searches” to see the details that I entered.


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Get searching on WorldCat today!

Let me know if you find anything interesting.