Monday, May 5, 2014

Why I love WorldCat


Find in a library with WorldCat

I have mentioned WorldCat before but it is such a great thing that I am going to mention it again.  If you haven’t used WorldCat you are really missing out. 

There are a several libraries within 50 miles of my house that have significant genealogical holdings.  When I need a specific book most of the time I can run it through WorldCat and it will be available at one of these libraries.  Most libraries are connected to WorldCat so I can sit at home and browse this collective card catalog while I am sipping my tea.  Even if the book isn’t available within driving distance I will still know where the book is and I can call or write the library to request a lookup. 

Let’s say I know of a book that I would like to search for a specific piece of information.  I search for that book in WorldCat and I find which library has the book.  I will enter a To-Do task in Legacy and attach that repository (library) to it.  I can then filter my To-Dos by repository and print out a list.  For example, I will be going to the Augusta-Richmond County Library next week.  They have a “Georgia Heritage Room” up on the second floor that is packed with genealogical books and microfilm.   Before I go I will sort my To-Do list and print only those that are for the Augusta-Richmond County Library.  I will get a list of the books I want to look through and this list will also tell me exactly what I am looking for.  There will be a space for me to jot down notes.  Normally I just take digital photos of the cover, title page and whichever pages inside interest me but having a place to write a few notes on the same piece of paper as the list of books is nice.  It keeps things organized.

I mentioned this in the Everything in one place blog post.  This is yet another way I keep as much as I can in ONE computer program.

I would like to also point out that libraries in general are just wonderful.  This is one thing that I don’t mind paying taxes for.  I certainly get my money’s worth because I use the library system A LOT.  I borrow books, I borrow DVDs, I use interlibrary loan, I look at microfilm I give presentations there, I attend meetings there, I attend special events there and two of my daughters work at the local library which is really nice. One of the books I want to look at when I go to the Augusta-Richmond County Library next week is the Dictionary of American Family Names by Patrick Hanks which costs $451.25 to own.  I can go to the library and look through it for free.  You can’t beat that.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Let's here it for libraries, and for helpful librarians! Recently I was researching my Mother's half-brother whom I had never met. I found an index of newspaper obits online at the Thunder Bay Library in Ontario, sent an email, and the next morning received pdf files of the obits for both the brother and his wife.
    Another recent example was finding an ancestor's name in a snippet on Google Books that only mentioned a periodical title and year, with no article name, author or page number. WorldCat helped me locate libraries with that periodical and I was eventually able to ILL a photocopy of the article in question.

    1. Reference librarians are the greatest! They actually LIKE helping you :)