Skip to main content

Using Worldcat: Search Tips

Search Tips

The Worldcat search block is located on the MSJC Library Homepage. Use the “Everything” Tab to search for all formats or select a specific tab to limit the format of your search.  Type key search terms in the search box and click the “Search” button. If you are searching for books on a topic, your search will be more successful if you just type in keywords vs. a sentence. Another tip: always check your spelling. If you are not sure, just Google the word and copy and paste the correct spelling into Worldcat!

How does Worldcat rank my results?

There are certain strategies that may improve your search results in WorldCat. These include the use of

Worldcat Boolean Searching

By default, WorldCat Local automatically ANDS your terms and searches for records that contain all of the terms in your search.

Boolean Operator

What the Operator Does


  OR (capitalized)

  Finds any single term or all terms.

(doctor OR physician)

  NOT (capitalized)

  Excludes the term that follows not.

"civil war" NOT "united states"


WorldCat: Truncation, and Wildcard



How to Use

  ? (question mark)   Wildcard

  Replace any number of unknown characters.


Retrieves encyclopedia and encyclopaedia

  * (asterisk)   Truncation   Add to the end of a word to retrieve variant endings.


Retrieves connect, connection, connectivity, etc.

WorldCat Phrase Searching & Parentheses



How to Use


  Phrase searching


  By putting quotation marks around your search terms, you are forcing Worldcat to   find those words in that exact order.

"medical marijuana"

  Refine Your Search

     Select one of the options on the left-hand column to narrow your search by
     Author, Format, Year, Content and other criteria.

Format Options
  Parentheses   Using parentheses helps to "nest" complex searches.  

dog (walking OR feeding OR grooming)

  Other Tips   You can change the order of books to relevance only, or have them arranged by oldest or newest publication date
  or alphabetical order.


WorldCat Common Search "Codes"

Index Term





au:stephen king



su:environmental science



ti:juvenile delinquency