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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

WorldCat (En): Find out more


Searching on three levels

You can search WorldCat on three levels.

Global level

The default setting is to Search all items globally.

National level

You can limit your search to items from Dutch libraries. This way you will search items from libraries in the Netherlands including Utrecht University Library.

Local level

It is also possible to limit your search to only those items the Utrecht University Library offers access to. This material is tagged "held by: Utrecht University Library".

Too many results, now what?

If you have too many results to view them all you can:

  • Add search terms to your query. For tips read the LibGuide about search strategy. (Dutch only)
  • Use the WorldCat filter options
  • ​Limit your search to one database

Not enough results, now what?

If you don't have enough results you can:

  • Use less search terms
  • Use fewer filters
  • Remove the check mark from the box "group related editions" in the top left corner of the search results screen
  • Search in all databases available in WorldCat

How to find the right edition of a book

If you are looking for a specific edition of a book the best way to find it is to add the year of publication to your search terms.

Another option is to click on "explore all editions & formats". A list appears with all editions of a publication available in WorldCat. Titles which can be accessed via Utrecht University Library are on top. You can use filters to manage this list.

If you want to be able to see all editions from the start of your search you can leave the box "group related editions" unchecked in the top left corner of the search results screen.

Advanced Search

In Advanced Search you can search specific field types.

You can also apply filters in advance by using the "limit your search" option. A good example may be limiting to the year of publication or only search for open access publications.

Please note: Be careful with the many options in Advanced Search. You might exclude items without wanting to.


By default, in WorldCat you search the catalogues of libraries ánd many of the databases to which the Utrecht University Library has access. You can see the list of available databases in "Advanced Search", on the right hand side of the screen.

You can make a selection of these databases in Advanced Search:

  • At the bottom of the list click "Select all in Group" to deselect all the check marks
  • Select the specific databases you want to search and check those
  • Click "Save Changes" to save the selected database(s) for your current session.

Please note: Not all databases and search engines for which the Utrecht University Library has a license are searchable in WorldCat. View the full list of search engines here.

Filtering results

You can use filters after a search. You will find the filtering options to the left of the screen.

WorldCat offers many filters, but be careful:

  • The filters are not presented in alphabetical order, but sorted by the number of search results.
    • Example: You could be looking for a CD but the CD filter option is at the bottom of the list because your search did not include many CD's.
  • You may lose potentially good results by filtering. Don't use too many filters and be careful with very specific ones.

It is possible to save filters for a next search query:

Citing, exporting and linking

WorldCat can format references in a number of different citation styles. Click the "cite" option for individual publications or for a selection of publications in the list under "My Items". You can copy the formatted references or export them directly to a reference management tool.

You can read more about citation and source referencing here (in Dutch only).

You can e-mail items (without citation formatting) by using the "Mail" button. If you want to copy a link to an item in WorldCat on a website or in an e-mail, then use the "Link" button.


Info elswhere

Author search

Use the Author field in Advanced Search if you are looking for all the publications by one author in WorldCat. You can find it in the Search Index drop-down box.

Author search tips:

  • Search for the author by last name only. Sometimes only the initials have been used in the title description and those entries will not appear if you include the first name.
  • If you have too many results then use the author filter in the search results.
  • You can use the "author" search field to search for an organisational or institutional author as well.

Searching by ISBN/ISSN/ISN

The fastest way to find a publication is by searching for the ISBN (for a book) or the ISSN (for a journal). In WorldCat you can simply enter this number in the Basic Search box.

Open access filter

There is a special filter in WorldCat that allows you to find open access publications.

In basic search:

WorldCat open access filter

In advanced search:

WorldCat advanced open access filter

When using this filter you will limit your search to databases in WorldCat that offer open access publications.

Sorting results

There are different ways of sorting your search results in WorldCat. 

Sorting "by Library" is the default setting. This way relevant material available from the Utrecht University Library will be shown first. If you choose a different sorting option then add the Utrecht University Library filter option as well if you want to limit your search to Utrecht material.

Saving items and search queries

It is possible to temporarily save items during a search session. To do this use the "Save" button. You will find your saved items under "My Items" in the top right corner of your screen.

If you exit WorldCat, this list will be lost. A new session starts with an empty list.

Saving the list

To save the list, you can export the entire list, or individual items, to a reference manager tool via the "Cite" button.  You can also send items to an e-mail address. See also the information in the box Citing, exporting and linking.

Please note: When you view the "My items" list, you will see a message saying "Staff may sign in to save your items to a personal list for later reference". This information is not correct and unfortunately we cannot correct this at present.