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Assistance OCLC

Searching WorldCat indexes guidelines and requirements

Browsing

 Note: Browsing is not available in WorldCat Discovery.

Browsing scans an index with the intent of finding a matched term or the closest matching term, rather than retrieving records. Selecting a term in a browse results list then retrieves the relevant record(s).

Each index description notes whether the index supports searching only or both searching and browsing.

Browse WorldCat using either:

  • A word that appears anywhere in indexed fields and subfields.
  • An exact phrase (complete subfield) or whole phrase (complete field), starting with the first word and including all words (but excluding initial articles in titles). The phrase you enter is matched character by character, from left to right, against the characters of the phrase in the index you specify.

The system returns a list of terms showing a match or the closest match, along with terms that precede and follow the matching term. When you open an entry on the list, you see the record or a list of records retrieved for that term.

Directives

Follow these general guidelines for browsing:

  • Include up to 60 letters, numbers, spaces, or these characters: ( ) &
  • Omit initial articles and non-English equivalents from titles (as listed on the Library of Congress website).
  • Include hyphens or substitute a space (system treats as two words).
    Example: sca ti:asymmetrically distributed finds both titles, Asymmetrically-distributed variations... and Asymmetrically distributed information...
  • Do not use qualifiers, wildcards, or combined terms for browsing.
Tips for browsing
  • Truncation. Browsing provides automatic truncation without using the truncation symbol. Type only as many characters or words as needed.
    Example: To browse for the title Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, type tiw=let us now praise famous
  • Browse for titles.
    • Use the title phrase index (ti=) to browse for title/subtitle combinations. The title browse index includes 245 ‡b.
    • In Connexion: Use the title whole phrase index (tiw=) to browse for a title proper (cataloger-constructed title access point). The index excludes 245 ‡b.
    • In FirstSearch: Use the Subject All index (sa=) in expert searches. Subject All is the only whole phrase index available in FirstSearch.

Capitalization

Index labels and search terms can be upper- or lowercase or a combination.

Default index

If you do not include an index label, the system uses the Keyword index (kw:) as the default.

Derived searches

 Note: Derived searches are not available in WorldCat Discovery or WorldShare.

Derived searching reduces the number of keystrokes you enter.

A derived search uses a specific number of initial characters from sequential words in a name or title.

  • The "derived" segments of the words are separated by commas.
  • A word is defined the same as for keyword searching (any character(s) between two blank spaces).
  • The number and pattern of letters and commas tells the system which derived index to search.
  • In a Connexion command line search or a FirstSearch expert search, using the derived search index label and punctuation is optional if it is the first or only element of the search. Always use index labels and punctuation when combining a derived search with a search in a different index.
Types of derived searches

The following table describes the four types of derived searches:

Index Index Label Number of initial letters and commas Minimum Key (see general notes) Index-specific Notes
Derived: Corporate/Conference Name cd: =4,3,1 4,1,blank Leading equal sign (=) distinguishes this index from personal name index if you enter without a label. Use in conjunction with a comma (,) and circumflex (^). Example=mcdo,air,^
Name/Title nd: 4,4 4,4 For records without 1xx fields, minimum key can be blank,4.
Dérivé : Nom de personne pd: 4,3,1 4,1,blank  
Dérivé : Titre td: 3,2,2,1 Aucun Cannot use circumflex.

General notes:

  • Minimum key. The minimum key pattern shows how few letters you can type and still retrieve all possible characters up to the required number of letters. For example, both pd:moza,wol and pd:moza,wol, a retrieve records for Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
  • Use of circumflex. Use a circumflex (^) in any derived search except a title search to exclude a character from its position in the search. For example, to search for the name Harvey, Henry, which consists of only two parts, type harv,hen,^
Directives
  • Even if a name or title has fewer words than the derived search sequence call for, type all commas. Example: To search for the title Roots, type td:roo,,,.
  • Omit initial articles (such as "a", "an, and "the") and their non-English equivalents from title searches or segments, but include if they appear anywhere else in titles (see initial articles listed on the Library of Congress website).
  • Include letters and numbers.
  • Exclude non-alphabetic and non-numeric characters.
  • Exclude punctuation and diacritics.
  • If a personal name begins with Mc or Mac followed by an uppercase letter, type m and omit c or ac; if followed by a lowercase letter, include c or acExample: To search for MacDonaldMarion B., type pd:mdon,mar,b. To search for Macdonald, Andrew T., type pd:macd,and,t.
  • For constructing segments of a personal name search:
    • Use the first four characters of the surname, the first three characters of the forename, and optionally, the first character of the middle name, separated by commas.
    • The surname includes all words that appear before the first comma.
    • Compound or hyphenated surnames: When constructing a derived name search or name segment, treat all parts of a name up to the first comma as the first element of the derived search, whether they are separated by a space or a hyphen.
      Examples:
      Type pd:vanh,car,j to find Van Huell Carolus Johannes
      Type pd:lima, moy to find Li-Marcus, Moying
    • Forename only: If the comma is the last element of the subfield, or if there is no surname, treat each part of a name as separate segments. Treat a hyphenated name as two separate parts.
      Examples:
      Type pd:whit,bul to find White Bull
      Type pd:li,min,t to find Li-MinTau
    • Type pd:henr,vii,k to find Henry VIII, King of England
  • For constructing a derived title search or title segment for hyphenated words, treat the words as separate. Example: Type td:asy,di,va,i to find Asymmetrically-distributed variations in traveler-perceived travel times.....
  • Do not construct derived searches using non-Latin script data.
Stopwords for derived name searches

Omit the following words as the first segment only from a corporate/conference name and from the name portion of a name/title search.

&

a

Alabama

Alaska

American

an

and

Arizona

Arkansas

Association

at

Australie

Board

Bureau

California

Canada

College

Colloquium

Colorado

Commission

Committee

Commonwealth

Conference

Congress

Connecticut

Council

Delaware

Département

Dept.

Division

Est

Fédérale

Florida

for

France

Georgia

Great Britain

Hawaii

House

Idaho

Illinois

in

India

Indiana

Institute

International

Iowa

Joint

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Meeting

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

National

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North

North Carolina

North Dakota

of

Office

Ohio

Okalhoma

on

Oregon

Organization

Parliament

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

School

Seminar

Senate

Society

South

South Carolina

South Dakota

State

Subcommittee

Symposium

Tennessee

Texas

the

U.N.

U. N.

United Nations

États-Unis

University

U.S.

U. S. 

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Workshop

Wyoming

Exemples

Omit Initial Stopwords in Search for... Enter Search as...
Corporate author Great Britain Forestry Commission of map(s) published in 1985 cd:fore,com,/1985
Corporate author United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights cd:econ,soc,a
Corporate name Indiana Supreme Court and title Race and gender fairness nd:supr,race

Initial articles (such as "a", "an", and "the")

When to omit initial articles

Omit initial articles in the following types of searches:

  • Beginning of these searches:
    • Derived title
    • Derived corporate name
    • Title word and phrase browsing (index scanning)
    • Keyword searches: Stopwords are not indexed
  • Title phrase (ti=) searches: The system automatically ignores English articles a, an, and the.
When to include initial articles

If a word listed as an initial article on the Library of Congress website is the first word of a search but has a different meaning (for example, ein or un used to mean one, or thé used to mean tea), include the word in a search.

Second indicators and ignored initial character spaces

In cataloging, a second indicator of 1 or higher in a field indicates how many initial character spaces to ignore for indexing, filing, and sorting.

For more information

See a comprehensive list of initial articles on the Library of Congress website.

Internet URLs and the 856 field

When searching for Internet URLs in relation to the 856 field, use mt:url to see if the 856 field exists in an Internet-only resource. It is also possible to search mt:web to retrieve any record with any kind of 856 field. Also, see Access Method for information about searching URLs and the 856 field.

Levels of searching

To give flexibility in search strategy and control over the results, OCLC provides various levels of searching, from simplified to complex.

Levels of searching - Table
Search Level Name Description
Connexion FirstSearch WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery
Recherche de base Recherche de base Recherche de base
  • Least complex level of searching where you use one search text box and/or various drop-down menus to enter or select the parts of the search.
  • The interface automatically formulates the correct search syntax when you send the search to the OCLC system.
  • Not all indexes are listed in drop-down lists in searching interfaces.
Guided Recherche avancée Recherche avancée
  • Least complex level of searching where you use one search text box and/or various drop-down menus to enter or select the parts of the search.
  • The interface automatically formulates the correct search syntax when you send the search to the OCLC system.
  • Not all indexes are listed in drop-down lists in searching interfaces.
Command-line search Recherche experte Recherche experte
  • Available from any search box.
  • The most complex search level.
  • Requires knowledge of full search syntax, including all parts of a search, the correct order, and format (index labels, Punctuation, search terms, Boolean operators, and Qualifiers).

Examples of searches in this guide are given in full search syntax (most complex format). From full syntax examples, you can extrapolate the parts of a search you would enter or select in boxes and lists to construct a basic or guided form of the search.

 Caution: Although constructed as "real" WorldCat searches that product actual results, the examples in this guide can only illustrate the principles of searching. Because of the dynamic nature of WorldCat, search examples used here may no longer retrieve records or may retrieve too many records.

Non-Latin/non-Roman scripts

The Connexion client and FirstSearch interfaces support all UTF-8 Unicode defined characters for non-Latin script search terms, which includes the following non-Latin, MARC-8 scripts: Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, and Korean, as well as all of the UTF-8 Unicode character sets. For a complete list of supported scripts, see the Unicode character code charts.

 Note: Do not construct derived searches using non-Latin script data. Non-Latin script is not indexed in derived searches.

Search for local holdings record (LHR) data

The following table outlines the data elements and fields available to search for LHR data in Connexion, FirstSearch, WorldShare, and WorldCat Discovery.

LHR data elements and fields - Table
Élément de donnée Code d'index Zone(s) de NFL
Code-barres bq: kw:

852 p

863 p

864 p

865 p

876 p

Call numbers nu: kw: 852 k h i j l m
Item-level notes nt: kw:

506 z

852 z

856 z

863 z

864 z

865 z

866 z

867 z

868 z

876 z

877 z

878 z

Shelving location b8: kw: 852 a b c

Spacing

In all searches, do not enter spaces between the index label and punctuation or between punctuation and the search term. Examplekw:software

Special characters in Latin script searches

The following table of punctuation, diacritics, and special characters describes how to treat each character when you construct WorldCat search or browse terms.

 Note: For Non-Latin script characters, see Non-Latin/non-Roman scripts.

Special characters in Latin script searches - Table
Nom Si le caractère de contrôle est... How to Treat in Search and Browse Terms
æ or Æ ae or AE Substitute the letters ae.
Acute Acute Omit and close up the space.
Alif/modifier letter right half ring Alif/modifier letter right half ring Omit and close up the space.
Almost equal to Almost equal to Omit and leave a space.
Ampersand Ampersand Type.
Apostrophe Apostrophe
  • Omit and close up the space.
  • Omit from word searches. Words preceded by single letter c, d, j, l, m, n, s, or t and an apostrophe are not yet normalized in the system (that is, not indexed together so that a search term with or without the character retrieves the same records). For now, enter both forms combined with OR to retrieve all appropriate records. For example, to search for l'etranger, enter etranger or letranger.
  • Omit from Dewey class number searches; however, if Dewey class numbers contain slashes, the system indexes them both with and without data following the slashes. For example, 123.45/67/89 is indexed as 123.45 and 123.4567 and 123.456789.
Asterisk Asterisk Omit and leave a space.
At sign At sign Omit and leave a space.
Ayn Ayn Omit and close up the space.
Backslash Backslash
  • Omit and leave a space.
  • Type in an access method phrase search.
Brackets and bracketed information Brackets and bracketed information

Omit and close up the space.

  • Omit opening and closing brackets and close up the space.
  • Omit brackets and data within the brackets in these two cases:
    • [sic]
    • [i.e. and any following data]
  • Otherwise, include data within brackets in searches.
Breve Breve Omit and close up the space.
British pound British pound Omit and leave a space.
Candrabindu Candrabindu Omit and close up the space.
Cedilla Cedilla Omit and close up the space.
Circle above letter (angstrom) Angstrom Omit and close up the space.
Circle below letter Circle below letter Omit and close up the space.
Circumflex, spacing or nonspacing Circumflex, spacing, or nonspacing
  • Omit and close up the space, except include spacing circumflex in URLs.
  • Add to some types of derived searches for greater precision.
Colon Colon Omit and leave a space.
Combining double grave accent Combining double grave accent Omit and close up the space.
Combining retroflex hook below Combining retroflex hook below Omit and close up the space.
Combining inverted breve below Combining inverted breve below Omit and close up the space.
Combining macron below Combining macron below Omit and close up the space.
Comma Comma
  • Omit and leave a space. Some exceptions are:
    • Omit and close up the space if the comma is preceded and followed by a number.
    • Include the first comma in a name phrase or whole phrase search (indexes that include 100 a and 700 a), if it is not the last comma in a subfield.
  • Use to separate the parts of a derived search.
Copyright sign Copyright sign Omit and close up the space.
Crossed d Crossed d Substitute the letter d.
Curly brackets Curly brackets Omit and close up the space.
Dagger Dagger Omit and leave a space.
Degree sign Degree sign Omit and close up the space.
Delimiter Delimiter Omit, along with the single letter or number following it, and leave a space.
Division sign Division sign Type.
Dollar sign Dollar sign Omit and leave a space. If used as a delimiter, also omit the single letter or number following it.
Dot below letter Dot below letter Omit and close up the space.
Double acute Double acute Omit and close up the space.
Double dot below letter Double dot below letter Omit and close up the space.
Double tilde, first and second half Double tilde, first and second half Omit and close up the space.
Double underscore Double underscore Omit and close up the space.
Downwards arrow Downwards arrow Omit and leave a space.
Equal sign Equal sign
  • Omit and leave a space.
  • Use to precede a derived corporate name search, but only if index label is not used.
Eszett Eszett Enter eszett, or enter a double s: ss.
Eth Eth Substitute the letter d.
Euro Euro Omit and leave a space.
Exclamation point Exclamation point Omit and leave a space.
Feminine ordinal indicator Feminine ordinal indicator Substitute the letter a.
Grave, spacing or nonspacing Grave, spacing, or nonspacing Omit and close up the space, except include spacing grave in URLs.
Greater than or equal to Greater than or equal to Omit and leave a space.
Greater than sign Greater than sign Omit and leave a space.
Hacek Hacek Omit and close up the space.
High comma center High comma center Omit and close up the space.
High comma off center High comma off center Omit and close up the space.
Hooked o Hooked o Substitute the letter o.
Hooked u Hooked u Substitute the letter u.
Hyphen (minus sign) Hyphen (minus sign) Omit and leave a space.
Icelandic thorn Icelandic thorn Substitute the letters th.
Infinity Infinity Omit and leave a space.
Integral Integral Omit and leave a space.
Inverted (right) cedilla Inverted (right) cedilla Omit and close up the space.
Inverted exclamation point Inverted exclamation point Omit and close up the space.
Inverted question mark Inverted question mark Omit and close up the space.
Latin capital letter ENG Latin capital letter ENG Substitute the letter n.
Latin capital letter ETH Latin capital letter ETH Substitute the letter d.
Latin capital letter EZH Latin capital letter EZH Substitute the letter z.
Latin capital letter G with stroke Latin capital letter G with stroke Substitute the letter g.
Latin capital letter H with stroke Latin capital letter H with stroke Substitute the letter h.
Latin capital letter L with middle dot Latin capital letter L with middle dot Substitute the letter l.
Latin capital letter T with stroke Latin capital letter T with stroke Substitute the letter t.
Latin script letters Latin script letters Type in upper- or lowercase.
Latin small letter eng Latin small letter eng Substitute the letter n.
Latin small letter ezh Latin small letter ezh Substitute the letter z.
Latin small letter g with stroke Latin small letter g with stroke Substitute the letter g.
Latin small letter h with stroke Latin small letter h with stroke Substitute the letter h.
Latin small letter kra Latin small letter kra Substitute the letter q.
Latin small letter l with middle dot Latin small letter l with middle dot Substitute the letter l.
Latin small letter long s Latin small letter long s Substitute the letter s.
Latin small letter t with stroke Latin small letter t with stroke Substitute the letter t.
Left hook Left hook Omit and close up the space.
Left right arrow Left right arrow Omit and leave a space.
Leftwards arrow Leftwards arrow Omit and leave a space.
Less than or equal to Less than or equal to Omit and leave a space.
Less than sign Less than sign Omit and leave a space.
Ligature, left and right Ligature, left and right Omit and close up the space.
Macron Macron Omit and close up the space.
Masculine ordinal indicator Masculine ordinal indicator Substitute the letter o.
Miagkii znak Miagkii znak Omit and close up the space.
Micro sign Micro sign Omit and leave a space.
Middle dot Middle dot Omit and close up the space.
Multiplication sign Multiplication sign Type.
Not equal to Not equal to Omit and leave a space.
Not sign Not sign Omit and leave a space.
Number sign Number sign Omit and leave a space.

 Note: WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery automatically search #searchword as searchword (e.g., #girlboss is searched as girlboss).

Numerals Numerals Type.
œ or Œ oe or OE Subsitute the letters oe.
Parentheses Parentheses Omit and close up the space. Use only when nesting Boolean searches.
Patent mark/subscript patent mark Patent mark/subscript patent mark Omit and leave a space.
Percent sign Percent sign Omit and leave a space.
Period (decimal point) Period (decimal point)
  • Omit and close up the space for derived searches.
  • Omit and leave a space in word searches except when numbers precede and follow the period.
  • Type the first period in a class number search.
Phonogram copyright Phonogram copyright Omit and close up the space.
Pilcrow sign (paragraph sign) Pilcrow sign (paragraph sign) Omit and leave a space.
Plus sign Plus sign
Plus/minus sign Plus/minus sign Omit and leave a space.
Polish L Polish L Substitute the letter I (ell).
Pseudo question mark Psuedo question mark Omit and close up the space.
Question mark Question mark Omit and leave a space.
Quotation marks Quotation marks
  • Omit and leave a space.
  • Use to enclose multiple words in a word search to retrieve the exact sequence of the words.
Right hook Right hook Omit and close up the space.
Rightwards arrow Rightwards arrow Omit and leave a space.
Scandinavian o Scandinavian o Substitute the letter o.
Script L lowercase Script L lowercase Substitute the letter l (ell).
Section sign Section sign Omit and leave a space.
Semicolon Semicolon Omit and leave a space.
Slash Slash
  • Substitute a space.
  • Omit and close up the space in number searches and in derived searches.
  • Include as a prefix to "slash" qualifiers.
  • Omit from Dewey class number searches; however, if Dewey class numbers contain slashes, the system indexes them both with and without data following slashes. For example, 123.45/67/89 si indexed as 123.45 and 123.4567 and 123.456789.
Espace Espace
  • Close up multiple adjacent spaces to one space.
  • Omit leading and trailing spaces.
Square root Square root Omit and leave a space.
Subfield delimiter Subfield delimiter (See delimiter).
Subscript minus sign Subscript minus sign Omit and leave a space.
Subscript numerals Subscript numerals Substitute the numbers 0 - 9.
Subscript parentheses Subscript parentheses Omit and close up the space.
Subscript plus sign Subscript plus sign Omit and leave a space.
Superior dot Superior dot Omit and close up the space.
Superscript minus sign Superscript minus sign Omit and leave a space.
Superscript numerals Superscript numerals Substitute the numbers 9.
Superscript parentheses Superscript parentheses Omit and close up the space.
Superscript plus sign Superscript plus sign Omit and leave a space.
Tilde, spacing and nonspacing Tilde, spacing and nonspacing Omit and close up the space, except include spacing tilde in URLs.
Turkish i Turkish i Substitute the letter i.
Tverdyi znak Tverdyi znak Omit and close up the space.
Umlaut (dieresis) Umlaut (dieresis) Omit and close up the space.
Underscore, spacing and nonspacing Underscore, spacing or nonspacing Omit and close up the space, except include spacing underscore in URLs.
Up down arrow Up down arrow Omit and leave a space.
Upandhmaniya Upandhmaniya Omit and close up the space.
Upwards arrow Upwards arrow Omit and leave a space.

Stemming

 Note: This feature is not enabled in Connexion or FirstSearch.

Stemming is where each term in a query is treated as a logical OR of the various word forms of the term, so that all records that contain any form of the term are included in the result set. For example, the query ball would be treated as if it were actually ball OR balls OR balled OR balling.

Stemming works with (unanchored) phrase searching "blue dog" would be equivalent to "blue dog" OR "bluer dog" ... OR "blue dogs" OR "blue dogged" ... OR "bluer dogs" OR "bluer dogged" ... etc. dog AND 608295448 returns the record with title field "Dogged hearts".

Stop words

Stop words (also called Common word exclusions) are common words that the system ignores in some types of searches. You can omit them from search items. To use any of these words as search terms, enclose them in quotation marks.

Stop words in WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery

The lists of stop words in WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery are specific to the following indexes:

WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery English stop words

a

am

an

and

are

as

at

be

but

de

for

from

had

have

he

her

his

how

in

is

it

not

of

on

or

that

the

this

to

un

une

was

which

with

you

WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery French stop words

à

an

as

at/ât

av

but

du

de

des

en

et

la

le

les

on

or

sein

thé

un

une

 Note: There are other terms that have been made stop words for other languages that need quotes to retain the search term within a search, including: an, ât, as, av, but, or, sein, thé.

WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery German stop words

als

am

an

auf

aus

das

dass

der

des

dich

dir

du

er

es

he

her

ihr

ihre

ihres

im

in

ist

kein

mein

mich

mir

mit

not

sie

sein

that

was

wer

wie

wird

von

 Note: There can be terms that have been made stop words for other languages that need quotes to retain the search term within a search including the word "not".

 
WorldShare and WorldCat Discovery Norwegian stop words

å

and

are

at

av

be

de

de

der

des

det

du

en

er

et

fra

før

he

her

is

la

le

les

og

om

on

sein

som

to

ved

which

 Note: There are other terms that have been made stop words for other languages that need quotes to retain the search term within a searching, including: and, are, be, by, des, is, le, les, on, sein, to, which.

Stop words in Connexion and FirstSearch

The list of stop words in Connexion and FirstSearch is specific to the following text-rich indexes:

Connexion and FirstSearch text-rich indexes
Connexion and FirstSearch stop words

&

a

am

an

and

are

as

at

be

but

de

for

from

had

have

has

he

her

his

how

if

in

into

is

it

its

near

not

of

on

or

she

so

than

that

the

their

there

this

to

un

une

was

were

when

which

with

would

you